Downturn? What downturn? Jefferies & Company, Inc., the principal operating subsidiary of Jefferies Group, Inc. (JEF), said earlier this week that it had expanded its fixed income business in mortgage-backed securities, snapping up two former managing directors from RBS Greenwich Capital as the New York-based firm looks to leverage itself in a down market. Jefferies said it had hired William Jennings and Johan Eveland to lead its Mortgage Trading Group within the company's fixed income business. Both Jennings and Eveland are former managing directors from RBS Greenwich. Jennings was a managing director in the mortgage sales division at RBS Greenwich Capital, with five years worth of tenure; previously, he had spent twelve years at Lehman Brothers. Eveland was a managing director and a co-head of agency and non-agency mortgage backed securities trading at RBS Greenwich Capital, where he worked for eight years. Previously, he was a co-founder of Alta Residential Mortgage Trust, a joint mortgage REIT of Pacific National Bank and Lehman Brothers. Beyond its two key hires, Jefferies also said it expects ten "senior professionals" to join its existing mortgage trading effort over the next several weeks. Call it opportunism, or call it blind optimism, but Jefferies CEO Richard Handler said that the company wants to use the downturn to jockey for a more dominant market role. "This expansion is consistent with Jefferies' ongoing and broad desire to take advantage of market dislocations and the occasional availability of exceptional individuals to join our platform," he said in a press statement. "With the severe dislocation in the mortgage market and the reduced presence of key industry players, we believe a mortgage trading platform built on knowledge and relationships can be a very successful addition to our fixed income presence," added Tim Cronin, dead of the fixed income at Jefferies. Jefferies' broader fixed income business actively trades corporate bonds, US government agency securities, mortgage-backed securities, municipal bonds and emerging markets debt. The group serves over 3,000 institutional clients and trades in more than 3,000 individual issues. For more information, visit http://www.jefferies.com.