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What the top CDO bankers did next

Most CDO bankers have survived the financial crisis remarkably unscathed

Most CDO bankers have survived the financial crisis remarkably unscathed

Five years ago on Sunday, Lehman Brothers collapsed –  taking with it a mass of very generously paid traders and investment bankers. The structured credit divisions that had been so busy in the run up the crisis were subsequently culled. So, what happened to the high-earning, big-swinging former tranche masters? We’ve looked them up. Almost all are now running their own hedge funds. And guess what? It looks like plenty of them are investing in precisely the collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) they created whilst working for big banks.

Rick Caplan

Who? Ex-co-head of CDOs at RBS Greenwich Capital in America.

What’s he doing now? Caplan only worked at RBS for a year before resigning in August 2007 as RBS made heavy cuts to its CDO business. After leaving RBS, Caplan set up Caprok Capital, a Rye-based hedge fund which says it has, ‘a particular emphasis on off-the-run esoteric credit stories in structured products, real property and corporate credit.’

Edward Cahill

Who? 39 year-old Cahill was the former head of European CDOs at Barclays and before that was the head of the CDO trading desk at J.P. Morgan in London. He left the British bank in August 2007.

What’s he doing now? In June, Cahill joined Cohen & Company, an organisation which describes itself as, ‘a full-service investment bank offering tailored solutions to middle-market and small-cap clients.’ According to the announcement accompanying Cahill’s arrival, he will be ‘responsible for the European Structured effort,’ at the bank.

Ken Margolis

Who? Former co-head of global cash collateralized CDOs at Merrill Lynch. Margolis is rumoured to have made $7m in 2006.

What’s he doing now? Margolis left Merrill in September 2007. Since 2009 he’s worked at Stonecastle Securities, a subsidiary of U.S. based Stonecastle Partners which manages around $5bn in assets ‘focused exclusively on financial institutions.’

Harin De Silva

Who?  Former global head of CDOs at Merrill Lynch. De Silva is also rumoured to have made $7m in 2006.

What’s he doing now? De Silva left Merrill in 2008 and spent some time being self-employed according to his Finra broker report. In June 2009 he joined Pimco, where he remains to this day – although his precise function there is unclear.

Michael Lamont

Who? Former co-head of the credit structuring group for Deutsche Bank.

What’s he doing now? Along with various other ex-senior CDO bankers, Lamont now works for Seer Capital Management, a New York-based hedge fund specializing in securitized products.

T.K. Narayan 

Who? Former head of the structured credit investment group at Lehman Brothers’ private equity.

What’s he doing now? Narayan joined Oakhill Advisors, a hedge fund, in October 2008 and has been there ever since. Oakhill specializes in investing in sub-investment grade credit, including structured products and distressed investments.

Jim Ballentine

Who? A former head of the structured credit business at Lehman Brothers.

What’s he doing now? Ballentine cannily managed to secure at transfer away from Lehman Brother’s structured credit unit in December 2007, when he was suddenly appointed head of Lehman’s Australian business.  He is now co-founder and partner at River Birch Capital LLC, a credit-focused hedge fund.

Jason Eppleston

Who? A former head of credit origination and structuring at Bear Stearns.

What’s he doing now? Eppleston joined Cantor Fitzgerald as head of structured credit origination in Europe in May 2013.

Kareem Serageldin

Who? The former head of structured credit trading at Credit Suisse. Serageldin was paid a total of $7m in 2007. 

What’s he doing now? Serageldin seems the only senior CDO banker to have come seriously unstuck. In May 2013, Serageldin appeared in court and admitted mis-marking positions in his portfolio with a view to inflating his bonus. He faces five years in prison and was reportedly due to be sentenced in August. The terms of Serageldin’s sentence haven’t been reported, but he may well be incarcerated already.

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