Redundancy for CDO specialists?

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With the market for CDOs deader than a Sunday in Surbiton, the future looks hazy for professionals in the area.

Investment banks aren't known for keeping unproductive staff on their books, particularly when retaining them means spending money on bonuses. And with bonuses announced in December (at US banks), some headhunters and recruiters are forecasting a rout in the intervening months.

"The structured credit market has pretty much shut down," says Alex Tracey, managing consultant at search firm Clifden Partners. "People are nervous, but we won't know the real investor reaction until people are back from their holidays. If this continues, we might then see structurers and traders having their roles reviewed around November."

Jodie Surendan, a consultant at recruitment firm Selby Jennings, says redundancies are already being made in some US structured credit teams and banks are pulling back on new hires - even after all interviews have been successfully completed.

Who's going first?

Headhunters predict CDO salespeople focusing on pension funds and traditional asset managers will be at the forefront of any redundancies - this is where the market has slipped away the most.

Equally, long-established CDO professionals at Barclays Capital and Royal Bank of Scotland may be on shaky ground - headhunters say both banks have hired aggressively in the area this year, and with some of the new hires brought in on guarantees, existing staff may prove easier to let go.