By Lee Spears and Michael Tsang – June 8, 2010 11:32 EDT
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June 8 (Bloomberg) — Cantor Fitzgerald LP plans to hire about 100 people to bolster trading in derivatives and convertible bonds in the coming year as it seeks to increase its equities division and expand outside the U.S.

The New York-based firm’s sales and trading unit will add more traders in London, where larger banks have reduced employees, and Asia, where demand for equity-linked securities such as options is increasing, according to Shawn Matthews, chief executive officer of Cantor Fitzgerald & Co. The company’s equities business currently employs fewer than 400 people globally, spokeswoman Melanie Gordon-Felsman said.

Cantor Fitzgerald, one of the 18 primary dealers authorized to trade U.S. government securities with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, is expanding its equity, fixed-income and investment banking after more than 300,000 financial-industry jobs were cut during the worst recession since the Great Depression. The firm has entered the municipal-bond market, started a prime brokerage for hedge-fund clients and hired staff for fixed-income sales and trading in Europe in the past year.

“We’re looking at this as a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Matthews said at an interview at his New York office yesterday. “Our biggest opportunity is in London, where the capital-markets divisions had been controlled by larger banks who are having difficulties now.”

Hong Kong, Tokyo

The equities business “has bottomed out” following the recession, creating opportunities in Asia’s emerging markets, while derivatives-trading is increasing in Hong Kong, according to Matthews. Cantor Fitzgerald has offices in Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo, he said.

The firm said in January it hired William Nichols as head of U.S. trading and Salvatore Catrini as managing director and U.S. product manager in its equity capital markets group.

Founded in 1945, Cantor Fitzgerald employs 1,400 people worldwide across its divisions, which include equities, fixed- income and investment banking, according to an April statement.

To contact the reporters on this story: Lee Spears in New York at; Michael Tsang in New York at