Bloomberg News

RBS Said to Lose Three in U.S. Credit Trading as Broker Shrinks

May 15, 2012

Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, the U.K.’s biggest government-controlled bank, lost its U.S. credit- trading head and two junk-bond salesmen as its debt-brokerage team in the region shrinks.

Sean Murdock, who oversaw U.S. credit trading since joining the bank in 2006, was no longer registered with RBS as of April 17, according to Financial Industry Regulatory Authority records. High-yield bond salesman Gregory Froehlich will join Deutsche Bank AG, and salesman Thomas Crystal also left the bank, according to people familiar with the matter.

RBS Chief Executive Officer Stephen Hester has eliminated more than 35,000 jobs at the bank since taking over in 2008 from Fred Goodwin, who led the lender into the world’s biggest bank bailout. The firm announced in January it would shrink its investment bank and pull out of equities and mergers advice globally. In November, it scaled back its corporate-debt brokerage team.

Murdock, who joined the bank’s Stamford, Connecticut, office in 2006, declined to comment, as did Crystal, Froehlich and Amanda Williams, a spokeswoman for Deutsche Bank.

RBS appointed Jon Weiss and Adam Siegel as co-heads of U.S. credit trading, an expansion of their current roles, said Scott Eichel, the bank’s global head of asset-backed products and head of U.S. credit.

Scaling Back

“Credit products continue to be a core priority for our franchise,” he said in an e-mailed statement.

RBS fired at least 20 people in its U.S. corporate debt unit last year as lenders worldwide announced more than 120,000 job cuts. It has given its mergers and acquisitions bankers in London until the end of the year to find a buyer for their business before it is closed, people familiar with the matter said in April.

Deutsche Bank hired another RBS credit trader, Patrick Kennedy, in April, Finra records show.

“Despite the industry and economic headwinds, we have adjusted to the market and are seeing continued strong momentum in our high-yield origination business,” said Dick Smith, head of high-yield capital markets for the Americas at RBS. “We have placed in the top 10 for the first quarter 2012 and for all of 2011.”

Issuance of high-yield corporate bonds in the U.S. dropped 72 percent in the three months ended Sept. 30 from the previous quarter as concern mounted that Greece would be unable to repay its debt and roil bank balance sheets. While the volume of debt sales accelerated during the first three months of the year, concern is again mounting that European leaders will be unable to prevent a sovereign-debt default.

The Edinburgh-based lender is 12th this year in underwriting high-yield bonds in the U.S., down from 10th during all of 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. After ranking eighth last year in investment-grade bonds, RBS has fallen to 11th this year, the data show.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lisa Abramowicz in New York at labramowicz@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alan Goldstein at agoldstein5@bloomberg.net


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