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Ex-Cohen Fixed Income Heads Launch Recruiting Firm
Total Securitization -- Institutional Investor News (November 16, 2007)

Former co-heads of fixed income at Cohen & Co., Brian James and Joe Messineo, have launched a recruiting and consulting firm. New York-based Link Global Solutions will service what James and Messineo consider to be new opportunities in the structured credit market and a shift to a buy-side driven market. "The sell side dictated terms until recently. The credit crunch and downsizing in the market has now presented a huge opportunity for the buy-side, including hedge funds and private equity shops, to take control," James said. New recruits for the buy side can be found in those recently laid off across the Street on the sell side. "Those increasing staffing are looking for an intimate knowledge and that can be found in the sell side."

The recruiting firm aims to help its clients identify talent to take advantage of the new opportunities. "Given the repricing of risk, the opportunities for buy-side participants has greatly increased," James said. Messineo said that current market conditions provide good opportunity for private equity shops. "They can take advantage of the CDO manager consolidation," he said. Noting John Thain, Merrill Lynch's new ceo, recent comment that he wanted to redeploy capital back into the securitization market, Messineo said, "There is fantastic opportunity from a buyer's perspective."

Link Global Solutions has been operating for two months with only James and Messineo, but the duo plan to add six more recruiters in the next six months. Additional hires will be based in New York, London and Tokyo. James said the company is currently in talks with a Tokyo-based firm to start up a strategic partnership but declined further comment. James and Messineo founded the fixed-income business at Cohen in 2002 and left the firm in July this year. "We saw an opportunity in recent market dynamics," James said.



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