Merrill Lynch restructures credit and structured finance units

Merrill Lynch today unveiled a significant restructuring of its European, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) credit and global principal investment and structured finance (GPISF) businesses, headed by Tim Grell and Dale Lattanzio respectively.

Hermann Watzinger, previously Merrill Lynch's head of debt markets securitisation and portfolio credit derivatives, has stepped down following the restructuring.The US investment bank promoted director Jon Pliner to head its European high-grade and high-yield secondary trading groups. Pliner will also share responsibility for default swap trading with managing director Neil Walker. Pliner will trade the European cross-over names and high-yield credits, and will jointly report to Grell and Lattanzio in his new role.

Managing director Vincent Dahinden has been promoted to head Merrill’s collateralised debt obligation (CDO) and structured investment business, including both cash and derivatives-based structures, and will assume responsibility for most of Watzinger’s duties.

Dahinden will also manage the corporate repackaging group, pursuing opportunities to employ credit derivatives and pure debt capital structures within the bank’s corporate client base. He will report to Lattanzio.

Director Justin Fox joins Merrill Lynch's GPISF team and will assume Watzinger’s synthetic asset securitisation responsibilities along with his current cash business role. Fox’s group will provide asset securitisation solutions for clients. He will also promote Merrill’s principal and financing capabilities across non-corporate asset classes. Fox will report to Lattanzio.

Director Bill Berry has assumed additional responsibilities within the alternative investment group for the EMEA region. He will drive client-driven business across all alternative products including cash and synthetic structures. Berry, in partnership with Dahinden, will execute Merrill’s strategy aimed at becoming a major provider of client-driven CDO and structured investment products in Europe. Berry reports to Lattanzio locally.

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