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Equity Default Swaps May Get Boost from Expanded GFI Platform

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NEW YORK (–GFI Group Inc. has added 10 people to its New York staff in order to beef up its equity cash and listed equity options and swaps brokerage services in the United States.

GFI, based in New York but better known thus far in Europe, believes the addition of the new team members will help with marketing in the United States, as well as promotion of a new platform that allows the trading of new equity default swaps alongside established credit default swaps.

According to a statement from GFI Group, equity default swaps work like credit default swaps, paying out when the stock price of a company falls below a predetermined amount. Trading equity default swaps and credit default swaps on the same platform could allow for easier record keeping for fund managers who use both.

“We are investing significantly in our equity business because we recognize that more clients are concerned with the impact that a variety of markets will have on a single name, including credit derivatives, equity, bond and volatility markets,” said Don Fewer, chief executive of GFI Group Americas, in a statement. “We also see a growing link between the equity and credit markets and are leveraging GFI’s position … to offer clients a first-rate cross-product brokerage service.”

Proponents of equity default swaps believe that their tendency to trade at higher spreads than credit default swaps will make them appealing to hedge funds and other investors looking to leverage credit bets.

GFI is an inter-dealer brokerage, market data and analytical software provider.