BTIG Starts Fixed Income Group With UBS, Citi Vets

Two fixed income veterans have set up shop at a brokerage house where no fixed income group existed previously. UBS veteran Jon Bass and former Citi executive John Purcell are now co-heads of global fixed income with BTIG.

Bass resigned as head of the U.S. fixed income group at UBS at the end of January. He had also served as head of all U.S. fixed income distribution. He left a week after several other fixed income leaders departed the Swiss bank, including Chris Ryan, the head of credit and Bass' supervisor. He was a managing director of corporate sales at Citi before joining UBS.

Purcell was most recently head of the global fixed income syndicate and North America capital markets groupfor Citi. He left Citi in November in a wave of layoffs that took some of the investment banks' most senior trading and syndication executives. He previously served with Salomon Brothers and was a managing director with NatWest Markets.

Both Bass and Purcell said that the new group will be a nimble one that can quickly bounce back and forth among asset classes to serve clients. "In an institution that is less siloed, there is a greater ability to cover clients seamlessly across fixed income and equity products," said Purcell. He said that the way their group will be set up, along with BTIG's existing equity trading abilities, will make it easier to focus on client needs comprehensively and respond quickly. He said that this flexibility to move across asset classes is an important feature he expects will catch on among other firms. "This institution has an ability to go across products very easily. I would say that is something that others would like to emulate."

Purcell said that BTIG became interested in starting a fixed income group after its clients began expressing interest; the firm's founding partners wanted to make the move. Equity clients have been more frequently expressing interest in investing in fixed income securities, Purcell noted, and the firm will likely see clients who want to traffic in the entire capital structure of companies, which makes the BTIG model attractive.

BTIG said its fixed income group will add another 60 employees to its 200-person firm and willbe responsible forthe sales and trading of credit products, including high yield and distressed debt. It will also include a new teamfocused onasset-backed securities and mortgage-backed securities trading.

Bass said that one advantage to be had in the current economic climate is that there are many experienced leveraged finance and fixed income experts available. "We view this as an opportune time to acquire talent that even two years ago was unthinkable."

Bass added that BTIG doubled its midtown space to accommodate its new fixed income business, adding another 20,000 square feet of space.

BTIG was founded in 2002 and offers institutional trading, prime brokerage, outsource trading and direct market access. It has offices in 10 U.S. cities, including New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and overseas officesin London,Hong Kong and Sydney. -MS

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