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CDO pros hard to come by

With the market for collateralised debt obligations (CDOs) growing ever larger, recruiters report no let up in demand for CDO-structuring and marketing talent in Asia.

"There's just a huge shortage," says one search consultant in Hong Kong. "It recently took me four months to find a vice president-level CDO structurer, and she only had eight months' experience."

He says shortages are down to the fact that banks are looking for specialist technical skills, combined with some experience of applying them in Asia, an elusive combination.

The lack of talent means desirable candidates can command as much as 50% more pay when they move between positions. Pay varies considerably across organisations, with vice president-level CDO structurers paid anything from US$400,000 to US$800,000.

The Financial Times reports that the total amount of funds invested globally in CDOs is rapidly approaching $1,000bn, making the sector nearly as big as the hedge fund industry.

CDOs amalgamate fixed income products like bonds and loans and repackage them into tranches, or products with a similar risk profile, which are then sold on to investors.

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