Oppenheimer & Co. has hired three experienced senior professionals to expand the capabilities of its Institutional Equity Derivatives Group’s options desk.

Working out of New York and reporting to Jay Huber, managing director of Institutional Trading in Equity Capital Markets, will be:

-- Ralph Ercole, formerly a senior derivatives specialist at O'Connor & Associates, Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and Knight Financial. Ercole joins Oppenheimer from Vicis Capital Management, where he played a central role in formulating that firm's global volatility strategies.

-- Randall (Randy) Hughes, whose experience includes stints at Jeffries, UBS, and Salomon Smith Barney. Hughes joins Oppenheimer after helping to build the derivatives business at WJB Capital Group.

-- Scott Fullman, who is a well-regarded commentator as well as an options trader. Fullman, who has worked at Shearson American Express, Cowen and Company, Swiss American Securities, and Hapoalim Securities has appeared on CNBC and Bloomberg TV, written for The Wall Street Journal and Barron's, and published two books on options strategies.

Also this month, Oppenheimer & Co. announced that John E. Rodstrom, Jr. has joined the firm as Managing Director, National Public Finance. Rodstrom will assume responsibility for expanding Oppenheimer’s public finance bond capabilities nationwide. He joins Oppenheimer from Sterne, Agee & Leach, where he was Managing Director and head of Southeast Public Finance. Previously, Rodstrom had held positions at Wachovia Bank, Smith Barney/Citigroup, Kidder Peabody, and Merrill Lynch.

Rodstrom will work out of Oppenheimer’s Fort Lauderdale office and report to Albert Lowenthal, CEO of Oppenheimer & Co.

Oppenheimer’s March hires also included a team that joined its Middle Market Institutional Sales Group from Bank of America/Merrill Lynch.

On the team are:

-- John Carson, Managing Director, Middle Market Institutional Sales Group, who has also worked at Wertheim Schroder and Drexel Burnham Lambert.

-- Ryan Gray, Director, Middle Market Institutional Sales Group, who previously has worked at BBVA and Deutsche Bank.

-- Bill Kaeli, Director, Middle Market Institutional Sales Group, whose experience includes posts at Herzog Heine & Geduld and Noyes Partners.

At Oppenheimer, this team will work out of the firm’s Philadelphia office and will cover a variety of mid-market and regional institutions in the area. They’ll report to Oppenheimer Managing Director Richard Grobman.

Donald Jay Korn writes for On Wall Street.