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Fixed income: Jefferies goes gangbusters in fixed income

Boutique investment bank expanding in fixed-income trading; Plans origination expansion and a push into Europe

Jefferies, historically a high-yield house, has been slowly expanding its fixed income offering since establishing itself in 1990. Over the early 2000s, that started to broaden out into corporate bonds and some rates, and municipals and mortgages. Over the past 18 months, though, the firm has stepped up the pace, adding more than 100 employees to its 300-strong fixed-income business through acquisitions, team recruitment and one-off hires.

In June, Jefferies became a primary dealer – yet another step in the firm’s strategy to increase its product offering in fixed income. Tim Cronin, head of the group at Jefferies, says that the decision to become a primary dealer was made in 2008. "It was clear by looking at the dislocations in credit and mortgages last year that volatility in Treasuries was going to start to increase dramatically. Add to that the fact that the number of primary dealers was decreasing as firms went bankrupt or were swallowed up, and it was clear that there would not be enough primary dealers to underwrite debt, especially with all the programmes that the Fed and Treasury were undertaking."

"We have most of the asset classes covered right now, so the real opportunity for growth we think will be Europe"

Tim Cronin, Jefferies

In January, the groundwork was set with the hiring of Daniel Markaity and Christopher Bury, 27-year and 13-year veterans, respectively, from Merrill Lynch to run the rates business, with further hires in London in April.

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