UBS loses Abramenko

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Peter Abramenko, head of Principal Finance at UBS, left the firm at the end of March. Jim Switzer and Sasan Doroudian, two investment-grade corporate traders reporting to him, have left UBS as well.

The departure of Abramenko and his colleagues has given rise to much speculation on Wall Street about why they left and where they intend to go. A senior client partner at a Manhattan-based executive recruitment firm believes the team may remain together and join a hedge fund.

Kris Kagel, a UBS spokesperson, declined to comment on Abramenko or his colleagues. However, a source close to Abramenko told US Credit that the departure from UBS was an amicable one.

Abramenko, who received an MBA from Northwestern University, began his career with UBS Principal Finance in November 2000 following the bank’s acquisition of PaineWebber. Prior to joining UBS, Abramenko ran investment-grade debt capital syndicate, trading and research for Kidder Peabody. He also ran medium-term note programs for the bank—as he had done at Salomon Smith Barney. When Kidder Peabody was taken over by PaineWebber at the end of 1994, Abramenko moved to a similar role within the bank.


Gallagher joins Wachovia’s high-grade trading desk

Charlotte-based investment bank Wachovia Securities has hired Stephen Gallagher to co-head investment-grade credit trading at the firm. Gallagher was previously head of high-grade credit trading at Banc of America Securities and head of corporate bond trading at Bear Stearns. He also spent 10 years with Merrill Lynch, where he headed the firm’s Eurobond trading effort in London. In his new role, Gallagher will be primarily responsible for the global cash trading business, including high-grade corporate private placement and preferred securities.

Sean Bonner, Wachovia’s co-head of investment-grade credit trading, says, “Steve has a strong track record of building and growing corporate bond trading businesses and is a strong addition to our investment-grade team.”

Gallagher is just one of a string of high-profile fixed-income recruits joining Wachovia from Banc of America Securities in recent months. The firm has also hired Jim Kelligrew, Banc Of America Securities’ former head of global high-grade fixed income and Jim Stenson, former head of global high-grade debt capital markets.

Kelligrew joins Wachovia as head of the firm’s investment-grade unit in its fixed-income division and Stenson joins the high-grade debt capital markets group covering the industrial growth and media communications sectors.

Also joining the firm from Bank of America are Ron Schumer and Greg Freer. The two join Wachovia’s structured credit products group and will work in treasuries trading and marketing respectively.


S&P names president

Rating agency Standard & Poor’s has appointed Kathleen Corbet as president of its financial services division to replace Leo O’Neill, who is retiring from the agency after 36 years of service.

Corbet joins from Alliance Capital Management where she was most recently chief executive officer of the fixed-income division. She has held management positions at Alliance Capital Management and its parent company Axa Financial, formerly the Equitable Life Assurance Society, for more than 20 years and has been actively involved in Alliance Capital’s strategic planning, global growth and acquisition integrations.Harold McGraw, chairman, president and CEO of McGraw-Hill, which owns S&P, says, “Kathleen brings substantial experience in the worldwide capital markets and in the global operations of a major financial services company. Her proven leadership skills, market knowledge and operational experience, combined with the strong management team at S&P, will enable us to continue to meet our growth agenda.”

Corbet has served as chairman of Alliance Capital Australia and New Zealand, and from 1998 to 2000 she was CEO of the firm’s European fixed-income and equity research and management division, based in London. From 1997 to 1999, Corbet was also chief of investment operations and global trading, where she developed technology enhancements to Alliance Capital’s trading and back-office operations.

Corbet says, “I am honored by the opportunity to lead Standard & Poor’s. As the capital markets become increasingly integrated and complex, the opportunities for S&P will continue to expand. I am especially excited about the opportunity to work with an extremely talented team at Standard & Poor’s.”


Howard heads to BarCap

Barclays Capital has recently appointed Mark Howard as managing director and global head of credit research in New York. Howard joins Barclays from Lehman Brothers where he was managing director and global credit strategist responsible for the firm’s high-grade, high-yield, emerging market and CDO strategy team. In his new role, Howard will report to Thomas Kalaris, chief executive, Americas.

In a press release, Kalaris says, “Attracting a leader of Mark’s caliber to head our credit research business across our global platform reinforces our commitment to providing clients with the best product in our field.” He adds, “Mark’s experience and profile in the industry will have a significant impact on the firm’s ability to continue to provide to clients outstanding credit strategy and quantitative research.”

Laura Winchester and Stephan Michel, who lead the credit research team in the UK and Europe, and Mark Pibl and Jon Scoffin, who lead the US and Asian teams respectively, will report to Mark Howard.

Institutional Investor magazine has recognized Mark Howard as a fixed-income ‘All American’ for 11 of the past 12 years, during which he also ranked first in seven of those years.

Also on the move...

Barclays Capital has made six hires to its emerging markets team across sales, trading and research. Andrew McDougal, formerly head of trading at Credit Suisse Securities London, joins as head of rates trading for Eastern Europe, Middle East, Africa (EEMEA) and Latin America. Jose Canepa joins from Lehman Brothers as head of sovereign bond trading for EEMEA; Andrew Caswall joins from ING as head of corporate bond trading for EEMEA. Both Canepa and Caswell will be based in BarCap’s London office.
Ennio Montinaro joins emerging market sales from a similar position at Merrill Lynch; Michael Hood joins from JPMorgan as a senior sovereign strategist for Latin America and Gatum Jain joins as a senior emerging quantitative strategist for the Americas.

Deutsche Bank has hired Kevin Bell and Ross Taylor to lead its new North American structured credit trading team in New York. They will report to Boaz Weinstein, head of integrated credit trading in North America, and Alan Cloete and Gerry Jackson, global co-heads of structured credit trading. Bell was part of Deutsche’s North American structuring group, while Taylor helped build the bank’s US structured credit business.

Head of autos and equipment asset-backed securities at JPMorgan, Brad Dansker, has left the firm to join Dutch bank ABN Amro as head of auto and equipment client origination in the ABS team. The appointment is the latest in a series of strategic hires to ABN’s ABS group, including Bill Haley from JPMorgan, Cyrus Mohebbi from Prudential Securities, Caroline Morrill from Morgan Stanley and Jim Regan from CSFB.

Deutsche Bank has hired Rami Hayek to its private wealth management division as global head of equity and fixed-income investments. Hayek was previously global head of product development at Barclays private clients.
l Putnam Investments has announced that Jay Cushing, a former senior investment-grade credit analyst who joined the firm in 1998, will join Kevin Murphy in managing its investment-grade corporate bond portfolio and trading. The position was previously held by James Prusko. Following the firing of four mutual fund managers at the firm for short-term market timing, Prusko left the firm. However, no charges were filed against him.

Rating agency Dominion Bond Rating Service has opened an office in New York to focus on US-based structured finance transactions. Andrew Jones will lead the US conduit, financial guaranty and mortgage insurance group, and Michael Nelson will lead the rest of the structured finance group in New York. Also joining the New York office are Susan Kulakowski, Quincy Tang, Ken Higgins and Chris O’Connell.

Hedge fund Vega Asset Management has hired Rajiv Sobti as head of trading for North America. Sobti joins Vega from rival fund management firm BlackRock Financial Management, where he was a senior member of the investment strategy group and co-head of the fixed-income group. During his six years at BlackRock, Sobti was responsible for overseeing core bond accounts and more than $60 billion of mortgage-backed securities under BlackRock’s management.

Pittsburgh-based investment management company Federated Investors has appointed three veteran portfolio managers as chief investment officers for specific fixed-income sectors: Deborah Cunningham for money markets, Mary Jo Ochson for taxed-exempt fixed income and Robert Ostrowski for taxable fixed income. At the same time, the firm has appointed William Dawson to vice-chairman of Federated’s investment advisory companies from his most recent position as chief investment officer for the global fixed-income unit.

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