If you’re a managing director at Deutsche Bank now, you might be feeling a little trapped. Don’t be. Cast your eyes across to Deutsche’s former global head of rates, to its former global head of emerging markets, and to its former CEEMEA head of capital markets and treasury solutions, sales, investment banking and commercial banking coverage…They’re doing just fine. – They’re in command of a huge fund with nearly 100 employees.
The ex-Deutsche bankers in question are Michele Faissola, Nizar Al-Bassam and Dalinc Ariburnu. Sometime after April, they set up F.A.B. Partners. Then in August, while most people were on holiday, F.A.B. acquired CIFC, a private debt manager with around $14bn under management and 75 staff.
That’s a pretty impressive trajectory, particularly given the problems ex-Barclays CEO Bob Diamond has had in getting his investment vehicle off the ground after leaving Barclays.
In the event that you’re unfamiliar with Faissola, Al-Bassam and Aribunu, each has a fairly illustrious past.
Faissola was a lieutenant of Anshu Jain (whom Deutsche is reportedly now considering suing for damages). His career at Deutsche spanned over two decades and included at least six years as global head of rates, followed by four years as head of Deutsche’s wealth and asset management arm. Faissola left Deutsche early in 2016 following an organisational restructuring by John Cryan. He is one of six current and former Deutsche employees accused of colluding with Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA to falsify its accounts, manipulate the market and obstruct the activity of authorities between 2008 and 2012.
Nizar Al-Bassam left Deutsche in April. He joined the German bank in 1999 and was promoted under Jain to become head of corporate finance for central and eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa in 2014.
Ariburnu spent 16 years at Deutche and Bankers Trust (which was acquired by Deutsche in 1999) before leaving for Goldman Sachs in 2009. Unlike Faissola and Al-Bassam, he hasn’t therefore worked for Deutsche for a while – but he was working for the firm during the period up to and including the financial crisis. One of several senior Goldman bankers to retire this year, Ariburnu left the firm in April.
While Deutsche labours under the weight of its $14bn U.S. fine, Faissola, Al-Bassam and Ariburnu are therefore busy managing their $14bn U.S.-focused fund. Best known for its investments in collateralised loan obligations (CLOs), CIFC also manages investments in CDOs and asset backed securities.
F.A.B. is registered in Jersey, although we understand that its three founders are predominantly based in London. CIFC currently has no staff registered in the UK according to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This is despite reportedly hiring Cheryl Boucher, an experienced loan syndications banker who’s now EMEA head of risk at BAML, to run a London office in 2007. If you want to work for CIFC, your best bet is therefore applying in the U.S. – CIFC has been known to hire former traders and bankers from Deutsche and J.P. Morgan. Debt experience is preferred.
Interestingly, it’s not just the men at the top that make F.A,B and CIFC similar to Deutsche, it’s also the investors. The Wall Street Journal reported in August that F.A.B’s $333m purchase of CIFC was sponsored by Supreme Universal Holdings Ltd, an investment arm of the Qatari royal family. Qatar’s Royal Family are also Deutsche’s largest shareholders, with a stake of around 10% in the bank. Coincidence? Not really: Faissola has reportedly been advising the Qataris on their stake in Deutsche since leaving the bank earlier this year.
F.A.B and CIFC are like Deutsche in more ways than one. It’s just that one looks in a better state than the other right now.