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SSB Restructures Fixed Income Derivatives

29 Jan 2001

Salomon Smith Barney has created a global interest-rate and derivatives products group to put trading under the same roof as structuring to enable the departments to leverage off each other.

As part of the reorg Peter Hirsch, global head of fixed-income derivatives trading in New York, and Jim Forese, head of European fixed income in London, are heading the new group, which covers fixed-income derivatives marketing and structuring, credit derivatives and interest-rate derivatives trading, and government bond and U.S. agency trading. The co-heads will be based in New York. It is unclear what role Fred Chapey, head of derivatives marketing and structuring in New York, will have under the new structure.

SSB has intended to combine the departments since the merger of Citibank with Salomon Smith Barney, but wanted to wait for the dust from the merger to settle, according to an official at the firm.

One head of fixed-income derivatives at a rival firm in London said SSB is weak in fixed-income derivatives structuring and is probably restructuring its group to boost volumes. "The fact that it is about two years after the merger tells you it was not working," he added. Chapey disagreed, arguing that SSB offers a full plate of fixed-income derivatives and last month was voted interest-rate derivatives house of the year by Risk.

Notably, say market watchers, Salomon veterans have made a clean sweep of the top positions in derivatives, with Hirsch, Forese and Tom Maheras, global head of fixed income, all coming from the investment bank, while Chapey comes from the Citibank side. A broker said the only surprise about the Salomon domination is that it has taken so long.

Chapey will work with the two co-heads to establish a role for him. He will continue to report to Maheras.

The official at Salomon Smith Barney said, "There is high reward and high risk in management. Managers know that their jobs are the first to change in a restructuring." He added that Chapey's unclear status in the new group is not a reflection of past performance.

Steve Bowman has taken over Forese's responsibilities for European fixed income. Forese, Hirsch and Bowman did not return calls before press time. Maheras was travelling and could not be reached.

29 Jan 2001