High Yield Professionals Are Getting Mobile In Job Market

Now that annual bonuses have been paid out, investment banks are bracing themselves for a round of musical chairs among their high yield pros.

"It's all about the bonus - as soon as they get their money, they're gone," said one headhunter that specializes in high yield. "It's going to be like this for the next few months. A lot of the banks are aggressively hiring."

Warburg Dillon Read seems to be leading the hiring frenzy.

"High yield is one of our key investment banking areas and we're looking to expand further, said a Warburg spokesman." "This is a growth opportunity, a way to increase our overall platform. High yield is a key pillar we need to offer clients."

WDR's most recent hire is Aryeh Bourkoff, formerly a telecom analyst with CIBC World Markets. He will be joining a team of two other high yield telecom analysts as senior telecom analyst, specializing in wireline telecom and cable television companies. He will also take managerial responsibilities over the group and is looking to bring a senior wireless analyst to the team.

"Warburg provided an excellent opportunity on a global basis to take advantage of telecom deals. It provided an excellent platform to launch into those global deals," Bourkoff said.

Bourkoff is the fourth ranked analyst to join WDR since Nov. 1. This group includes Bill Hoffmann in the forest products sector, Bill Crowley in heavy building materials, and Rick Miller, a metals analyst, managing director and head of all high yield research. Bourkoff will report directly to Miller.

"We're matching up our strengths in the high yield sector with our strengths in our capital markets group," said a WDR spokesman. He suggested there would be more hires in the months to come.

Bourkoff is not the only one to leave CIBC in recent weeks.

Sarah Thompson, an industrial goods, paper and forest products analyst, jumped from CIBC to Lehman Brothers. High yield salesman Mike Pedone also abandoned CIBC for Lehman Bros.

Meanwhile, CIBC has not sat idly by, letting its high yield team slip away. The firm has made its own round of new hires.

Scott Fahey joined CIBC Jan. 5 as managing director and head trader in the high yield department. He came from a similar position at Chase Securities.

Fahey joined what was then Chemical Bank in 1993 and helped launch the high yield effort there. He said he wanted another similar experience, and the opportunity to bolster Chase's high yield team was one reason he jumped ship to CIBC. He will report directly to Mario Monello, managing director and co-head of high yield sales and trading.

"I started to think about the more entrepreneurial experience," he said.

Fahey said he expected to see growth in high yield, as the lines between junk bonds and bank loans continue to blur.

"You have bonds that look more like loans and loans that look more like bonds," he said.