Talking distressed

Patrick Collins describes himself as a bargain hunter, which in his private life includes a penchant for antiques. But before buying anything, he likes to do his research.“When I was looking for a mantle clock I almost drove my wife mad. By the time we made a purchase I knew exactly which clocks were the good ones, what was a good price and what to look out for,” he says.

That trait is necessary, too, in his work as Merrill Lynch’s head of distressed debt in London. “A tendency to over-research

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