Banks thirsty for DCM pros

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It's nearing the end of the summer in Sydney and the city is suffering from a drought of debt capital markets (DCM) originators.

Australian recruiters say the situation is reaching crisis point. "You can't hire a DCM originator here for love or money," says Oliver Darkes, a consultant at recruitment firm Carmichael Fisher. "It's a particularly hot market, and the shortage of talent is becoming ridiculous."

Patrick Everest, a consultant at Jon Michel Executive Search, says the DCM market has heated up considerably following a long period of sporadic hiring. He says UBS, National Australia Bank, ANZ, Citigroup and ABN AMRO have been among those hiring.

Demand for people to bring in Australian debt deals coincides with a flurry of corporate debt issues by foreign companies. According to Reuters, foreign entities have issued around A$5bn of fixed and floating rate notes since the start of the year, double the amount issued during the same period of 2005. Last year was itself a record one for Australian corporate debt, with total issuance rising nearly 40% to A$55bn.

Recruiters say the bulk of demand is for executive director and vice president level staff. DCM originators familiar with natural resources companies are particularly sought after, says Darkes. "Banks want people who already know about commodities - they're sourcing people from Latin America and Africa."

By comparison, recruiters say there are relatively few opportunities for staff to relocate from London and New York, unless migrants have a strong natural resources or financial institutions background - the African Development Bank and Germany's Hypo Real Estate Bank International are expected to be among those issuing bonds in Australia later this year.

For the right people, pay can be generous. Everest says guaranteed bonuses and sign on bonuses have made a comeback. Darkes says vice presidents in debts capital markets can make as much as A$1m, comprised of a $200,000 base salary and an $800,000 bonus.

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