Instinet Europe, the broker owned by Nomura of Japan, on Thursday said it had hired Alexandra Foster from BNP Paribas to a newly created post of head of UK sales.

The move comes as some brokers claim to be seeing increased hiring activity amid signs of tentative optimism for volumes in equity markets.

Richard Balarkas, Instinet Europe chief executive, said: “In the last couple of months there’s been a lot of hiring going on. There’s a lot of movement and everyone’s trying to staff up again.”

It also comes as asset managers and hedge funds appear to be recovering their appetite for using the services of brokers, either independent “agency” brokers, such as Instinet, or the brokerage arms of banks. That is partly because the proliferation of trading venues has fragmented liquidity, requiring greater use of the so-called “smart order routing” services that brokers typically offer their “buy-side” clients to help get trades done.

“The market clearly has an increased appetite for the types of agency trading services that we provide. I am very pleased that someone of this calibre has decided to join us,” Mr Balarkas said.

Ms Foster has been on “gardening leave” since leaving BNP Paribas, where she was head of sales for global execution services. She starts at Instinet in October, reporting to Peter Howard, head of equities.

Instinet already has a UK sales team but no head of UK sales. “We need a more co-ordinated approach to how we position and market ourselves in these fast changing markets,” Mr Balarkas said.

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