You Can Set Your Watch By It

It's becoming regular as clockwork: Merrill Lynch lost a few more high yield officials recently.

Coming on the heels of several other defections, John Engelen, a 10-year veteran at Merrill, most recently a managing director, jumped ship and landed at Salomon Smith Barney as managing director in high yield sales and trading. He will oversee the global distressed credit business.

The global distressed credit area includes distressed corporate issues and bank loans. Those deals used to trade on several different desks, but now Salomon plans to bring them under one global effort and strengthen that part of the high yield business.

Company officials said that Engelen's hiring expands the reach of Salomon's U.S. business and also lays the groundwork to eventually grow it in Europe and Asia as well.

Also coming from Merrill Lynch are Edward Sutherland and John Humphrey, as senior analysts, and Jeffrey Jacob as a senior trader. All three will report to Engelen.

Merrill Lynch also recently lost three high yield pros from the telecommunications area (HYR 05/31/99). Joseph Sheehan, director, and Sean Crowley, managing director, went to Bear Stearns as managing directors. And Scott MacLeod, managing director at Merrill, reportedly left to go high-profile telecom issuer Nextlink Communications as chief of business development.

A week before that, Richard Byrne left to join Deutsche Bank. And early in the year, Tom Gahan, head of global leveraged finance, and Seth Waugh, former head of fixed income, left the company as well.