June 23 (Bloomberg) -- Cantor Fitzgerald plans to hire as many as 100 staff in fixed income in Europe in the coming year as it builds high-yield and distressed-debt businesses, said Chief Executive Officer Shawn Matthews. The closely held New York-based securities firm will approach the business âfrom a trading perspective,â Matthews said in an interview today. As a âlonger-term goal,â Cantor plans to build a âsmall merchant-banking operation,â he said. Cantor, which is organized as a partnership, is seeking to take advantage of the âdisarrayâ that has struck larger rivals such as Morgan Stanley, Citigroup Inc. and UBS AG amid losses and writedowns by lenders worldwide of almost $1.5 trillion, Matthews said. Cantor hired Marty Teevan in New York from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in December and more recently took on James Franz from Citigroup Inc. in London. âOur clients say they are looking for more-relevant counterparties now that the big investment banks have reduced the level of capital and their commitment to trading,â Matthews said. Cantor, which expects to hire at least 50 people in Europe the next 12 months, is also seeking to add 25 to 30 staff in Asia, he said. The company also plans to build structured-debt, investment-grade and rates businesses outside the U.S., Matthews said. The default rate may go as high as 25 percent âby the time the crisis is over,â Matthews said. âThe world is in a bad place.â http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=akN3EHl88_50 Some ET members with fixed income experience ?