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October 1, 2013

Axiom Capital Looks to Grow Institutional Side

By By Gregg Wirth

Axiom Capital Management, Inc., a small New York City retail brokerage with a successful investment banking arm, is expanding its institutional trading operations, adding three veteran traders and planning several more hires, company executives said.

The firm hired a three-man institutional trading team, all formerly of Pulse Trading, in mid-September. The team is headed by Hal Smolanoff, who becomes an Axiom managing director. Joining Smolanoff are Ethan Vickery and Grant Rosenblum, who both become Axiom senior vice presidents. Pulse Trading was acquired by State Street Global Markets in 2011.

Axiom Capital, with offices in New York, Texas and Florida, started out as a retail brokerage catering to the high-net-worth crowd. In the mid-1990s, it launched an investment banking arm in Austin, Texas, which soon made a name for itself in the underwriting of private investment in public equity (PIPEs) deals and other private placements. Axiom also opened a research unit in 2010 that specializes in the alternative energy sector. The firm's expansion into institutional trading will build on its overall growth and leverage the opportunities the investment banking unit can provide, said Peter Jarck, a senior VP in the sales and trading division.

"Axiom has doubled in size within the past several months," Jarck said. "It's a real growth spurt." The firm is looking at about 10 new hires in total-mainly in sales and trading of equities, fixed income and derivatives-and is expected to announce more in the weeks ahead.

"These new institutional hires will bring more distribution points where we can tap into the banking relationships of the investment bank," he said, adding that the firm is pitching to long-only funds and hedge funds ranging in size from start-ups to some of the largest funds.

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