eFC Briefing: Profit From Toxic Assets

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BlackRock hires Merrill credit strategist and Wachovia mortgage derivitaves chief and acquires structured credit hedge fund. Two-day LaidOffCamp event slated for New York City, May 1-2.

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BlackRock is ramping up its capability to manage assets that many blithely condemn as toxic - such as structured credit, securitized assets and leveraged finance. The fund management and alternative investments firm recently hired two well-known structured credit executives from Merrill Lynch and Wachovia. It also acquired a credit hedge fund, R3 Capital Management. More than 40 R3 employees in New York, London and Singapore will join BlackRock, a R3 spokesman told Pensions & Investments. Separately, Akiva Dickstein, head of Merrill Lynch's U.S. rates and structured credit research group, joined BlackRock to manage mortgage portfolios. The company also hired Randy Robertson, head of Wachovia Capital Markets' residential mortgage and consumer group and co-head of residential CDOs. Robertson will co-lead BlackRock's securitized assets team.

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Following a well-attended similar event last month in San Francisco, LaidOffCamp is coming to New York City at the beginning of May. Free and open to the public, the two-day forum includes panels, workshops and discussions to help individuals network and acquire useful information about personal branding, starting a business, developing alternate income sources, and more. It takes place Friday, May 1, from 4:30 - 7:30 p.m., and all day Saturday May 2.

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What makes an employee a "keeper"? It isn't tweets or professional development course certificates. "Employers want to know that you can be trusted to do what you say you'll do," says Sandy Allgeier, a former HR executive and author of The Personal Credibility Factor. One of the most telling factors, she observes, is an employee's ability to meet a deadline. To avoid blowing deadlines, take care not to jump into commitments that aren't realistic. When asked to take on a new project, tell your supervisor you need to create a schedule for it, and then get back to him or her later that day or the next morning. If you do miss a deadline, apologize for overcommitting, and promptly state when you will complete the project.

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Without a reviewer-friendly resume, even the most talented professional can be passed over for a competitor. To make sure recruiters and hiring managers notice you, resume experts advise encasing your experience in an eye-catching design. Among the many tips they offer:

- Add a "branding statement" headline in boldface, all-caps and centered, just below your name and address.

- Within the experience section, strategically use bullets and boldface to draw the reviewer toward the points you want to highlight, such as the top achievement statement under each position, and names of employers or job titles that are prestigious.

- Use a clear, organized layout. Separate major categories by one and a half spaces, and don't use a font smaller than 11 points. This makes your resume easier to read.

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More companies are taking steps to protect client lists, intellectual property and trade secrets when they see former staffers sign on with a competitor. In Charlotte, N.C., for instance, Bank of America reportedly is sending letters to former employees as GMAC gears up local hiring there. Before starting any new job, it's wise to check details of any employment or non-compete agreement you might have signed with your previous employer, either as a condition of employment or in exchange for a severance package. Enforcement of these agreements varies by state, the specific language of the agreement and each situation.

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Also noted:

Fidelity cuts raises, bonuses, profit-sharing [InvestmentNews]

Pay Limits May Apply To Toxic-Asset Relief Program, Report Says [Washington Post]

Banks invest in compliance and risk monitors [Financial Times]

Teaching: No 'Fallback' Career [New York Times]

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