At this year's ABS West 2005 conference, United Capital Markets president John Devaney outlined his firm's expansion plans in the coming 12 to 24 months, although few of the chattering conference attendees were listening. Following the recent hiring of CFO Linda Hannan and last week's poaching of secondary trader Randall White, Devaney is ready to execute his strategy, which includes investment banking activity, publishing research and raising funds in the capital markets - selling both debt and equity - as well as a move into high-yield corporate trading.

"I want UCM to be on the level of Bear Stearns and [RBS] Greenwich [Capital]," Devaney said in an interview last week. "We're going to catch up to those guys, it's only a matter of time."

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