Upset in the high yield business as masses of traders disappear in 2018

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Shortage of high yield traders

Where are all the high yield traders when you need them? Not on European trading desks, it seems. - Following an unprecedented number of job moves and market exits in 2018, one headhunter is warning that around 40% of Europe's leading sell-side high yield risk takers are out of action.

"There are just an awful lot of people out of the market," the headhunter says, speaking on condition of anonymity. "You've either got people who've gone to the buy-side, or who have moved back to the U.S., who are between sell-side jobs, or who are simply not working for one reason or another."

The list of people who were trading high yield in Europe and who aren't any more, is certainly a long one.

It includes people like Dan Cohen, the ex-head of high yield trading at HSBC, who resigned in April to join Nomura but has yet to arrive. There's also Mike Anderson, a high yield credit trader with five years' experience at Barclays, who's rumoured to be en-route to Goldman Sachs. There's Dominic Surry, the former head of high yield at Deutsche Bank who quietly retired at the start of the year. Or Nadia Egorova, a director of high yield trading at Deutsche, who's currently on maternity leave.

There are also the European high yield traders who've moved to the U.S. market. They include people like Evan Remmes, a former head of high yield trading at Bank of America in London, who's gone to New York; Ovie Faruq, a former high yield trader at Barclays in London, who moved to Barclays in New York in February 2018; and Sam Page, the former head of European high yield trading at Citi, who went to America in December 2017.

To add insult to injury, Vidur Khanna, a vice president level high yield trader at Citi, left to offer consulting services to fintech start-ups. And Chris Derry, the former head of high yield trading at RBC Capital markets, and an experienced risk taker, swapped across to high yield sales in February 2018.

In combination, headhunters say the moves mean that a market which houses a small number of traders at the best of times, is now seriously lacking in experienced personnel.

The jury is out on whether this matters. Russell Clarke, founding partner of fixed income headhunting firm Figtree Search, said the high yield market in Europe has experienced juniorisation as banks have become less willing to hold high yield inventory: "Nowadays it's all about the primary market and flow, and that means banks need a different type of trader."

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