Interest rate desks beef up

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The credit squeeze is on, but there's no squeeze on the demand for experienced interest rate derivative traders in Australia right now.

With interest rate yield differentials widening as Australian rates rise and US rates fall, and as companies draw down on their debt overdraft facilities, the need for good traders is picking up.

Allan Ritchie of Sydney-based Ritchie & Associates Recruitment says the demand for interest rate derivative specialists is strong, particularly for mature traders who have been through a credit squeeze before.

Ritchie is currently advertising for a senior trader with experience in taking large risk positions, focusing on either domestic or major currencies and cross currency interest rate book risk. The lure? AU$200k plus bonus.

David Rolleston, associate director finance at Robert Walters, says banks in Australia are drawing in clients from around the globe: "Any candidate with front office (interest rate trading) experience from Asia, Australia or Europe is in high demand. We have a number of clients looking and the A-grade stars are being actively headhunted."

Caan Krsztew-Ivanow, a senior search consultant at Melbourne-based financial services specialist Graeme V. Jones & Associates, predicts that the fact that companies are starting to draw down on their debt will feed demand for rates traders going forward: "Because the companies are drawing down their debts the banks are going to be hiring more interest rate traders because they want to be well positioned to handle this business. It's an exciting time to be on the interest rate desk."

But Hays director Edmund Gill cautions that while work for interest rate traders is rising, there may not be huge amounts of hiring as a result: "I think the guys are just working harder - the banks are not creating new desks to take advantage of it."

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