LONDON - Schroder Salomon Smith Barney has hired four bankers from Merrill Lynch & Co. to boost its German business, which aims to manage more stock sales.

Carsten Vier, Niklas Sandberg, Frank Vogel, and Marcus Scheibel joined the European investment banking unit of Citigroup Inc. in Frankfurt, a Schroder spokesman said.

Schroder, like its rivals, has been building up a banking team in Frankfurt. The growth of the Neuer Market stock exchange for technology shares and a law that will allow German companies to sell stakes in other companies tax-free starting in 2002 are expected to encourage more public stock sales.

Schroder last month appointed Steffen Klein, formerly of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co., as head of German equity derivatives sales. In March it hired a team of German salespeople and traders from Merrill Lynch and shifted its German equity sales force to Frankfurt from London.

Schroder transactions in Germany include co-leading a $1.2 billion syndicated revolving credit for Thyssen Krupp Industries AG, an industrial materials and building products maker, and acting as a joint arranger for DaimlerChrysler AG's pending Samura bond offer.

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