Senior financial sponsors and leveraged finance professionals at Royal Bank of Scotland in London have been moving on to either competitors or to the buy-side in recent weeks.
Robin Challis, a managing director and head of credit strategy within RBS's distressed and leveraged loan trading team, has just taken a role as partner at Pemberton Asset Management. Pemberton is a private debt firm backed by insurer Legal & General.
The distressed and leveraged loan trading team at RBS is also known as the special situations group and has 6 strategists, four traders and 11 sales staff working for it. Challis joined RBS as a credit analyst in November 2005.
Meanwhile, Andrew Clayton, who led a team in RBS's financial sponsors structured finance group which includes leveraged finance, has just joined Santander as head of financial sponsors. Clayton worked at RBS for over 15 years, having originally joined as a senior director in its structured finance group in June 2001.
Some Clayton's team have also moved on to new ventures. Luke Kingston, who was a director in RBS's financial sponsors group, has joined mid-market venture capital firm Lyceum Capital as an origination director. James Salmon, who was also a director in the financial sponsors group, is now working for Big Issue Invest - the social investment arm of the Big Issue.
Meanwhile, Gerald Avenel, who was a director in convertible bonds and leveraged credit at RBS, is now in fixed income sales at Citic Securities in London.
What's going on? RBS has, of course, long been making cuts from its investment bank, but more recently redundancies have focused on back and middle office functions. The moves may be more indicative of a difficult market for senior leveraged finance professionals.
One private equity professional tells us that private debt funds, leveraged loan funds and other private equity firms have been "swamped" with CVs from senior leveraged finance professionals in investment banks in the past few weeks. Firms have been cutting back on director and MD level staff after some over-exuberant hiring in the past few years.
As we pointed to previously, Simon Rankin, a managing director in J.P. Morgan's leveraged finance team, left in November and has yet to find a new position.
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