Bloomberg reports that the largest publicly traded asset manager has lost its two key debt-focused executives. Catching a change in the disclosed managers in a May 8th SEC filing, Bloomberg has concluded that Mark Williams, formerly head of Blackrock's bank-loan investment team and co-head of the leveraged finance business, and Kevin Booth, co-head of high yield and the other co-head of the leverage finance business have both left the asset managing behemoth, and have been replaced with James Keenan, Mitchell Garfin and Derek Schoenhofen who are now managing the High Yield Bond Portfolio, while Leland Hart and Adrian Marshall are managers for the Sr Floating Rate Fund.
While no reason was provided for their departure, it is odd that at such a "booming" time for credit as the MSM would like to make it seem, two of the key figures at arguably the second largest asset manager in the U.S. after PIMCO would chose to bail just at this time. Then again, one only needs to recall how Fortress and BlackStone IPOed at the very peak of the market to the chagrin of all their initial investors (who may be so unlucky as to still hold the IPO shares). Could this be indicative of the proverbial top in credit? The answer will be obvious once the equity market squeeze is finally over... Which especially today is in full schizophrenia mode yet again, with the equity market higher while the overall credit market is wider. Then again - the game of buying S&P futures continues and will be successful for those who participate in it, until that is also over.
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