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Recruitment firms may be cutting fees in an effort to inspire hiring before Christmas, but at least one firm is still in expansion mode.

Correlate Search, formerly known as Akamai Financial Markets, formerly known as Alexander Mann Financial Markets, is understood to have hired a team of eight or so people formerly employed by the Whitney Group in Asia.

US-based Whitney Group went out of business in October and is suing its CFO for 'misappropriations'.

Akamai Financial Markets had problems of its own back in April, when it was sold to new owner Hexagon Group for 1 after accounting irregularities were discovered at its parent.

Jonathan Wright, chief executive of the Hexagon Group, declined to comment on the hires, saying only that Hexagon had no interest in buying new businesses in Asia, but that an interest in "recruiting good people would be a different matter".

One headhunter with knowledge of the Asian market questioned Hexagon's timing: "The general feeling is that Asia hadn't been as badly hit as the London market until a few weeks ago, but since then there have been quite a few mandates cancelled or suspended."