As one door closes...
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As one door closes...

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Explosive theories

Two former co-heads of Merrill Lynch's bond division have been keeping the firm guessing. Seth Waugh, it was rumoured last month, was about to return. His one-time partner, Connie Voldstad, finally announced that he was leaving after 11 years.

In truth, Voldstad hasn't really been at the firm since September last year, when he was seconded to run the bank consortium that had pitched in to save Long-Term Capital Management. Then Merrill announced losses of $890 million, and Kelly Martin became new debt head, with Waugh and Voldstad now seconds-in-command.

Waugh stuck around until February, when he went to Pennsylvania-based hedge fund Quantitative Financial Strategies. He was apparently not happy there. "He still rings quite a lot," a senior Merrill banker told Euromoney over the summer. "He misses the excitement and interaction of working here." How prophetic: in September Waugh left his new job.

Few had expected Voldstad to remain at Merrill, in part because Martin was making a good job of restructuring the division. And in part because rumour had it that Herb Allison, president and COO at the time, wrote to him at the end of last year to tell him there wouldn't be a job for him when he finished at LTCM - which both deny.

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