Atkinson, who is based in New York, joined from Credit Suisse Group AG where he was co-head of distressed research, said Sanam Alaghband, a spokeswoman for the investment-banking unit of the Royal Bank of Canada. (RY) Atkinson reports to Mike Meyer, head of U.S. credit, Alaghband said. Atkinson started this week.
“We see this as an opportune time to carve out a new distressed business as we expect the distressed market to expand in the U.S. and indeed in Europe over the coming months and years,” Meyer said in an e-mailed statement.
The Standard & Poor’s/LSTA U.S. Leveraged Loan 100 Index (SPBDLLB) fell 2.3 percent last year, the first decline since it dropped 34.6 percent in 2008 in the aftermath of the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. Moody’s Investors Service (MCO) expects the U.S. speculative grade default rate will rise to as high as 2.9 percent this year, up from 1.8 percent in December, while the measure in Europe will increase to as much as 2.8 percent next month from 2.5 percent in November.
Atkinson’s primary responsibilities will be to provide trade ideas to RBC’s credit team, Alaghband said.
Atkinson worked for more than 10 years at Credit Suisse and was previously at DiMaio Ahmad Capital LLC, also known as DA Capital, Alaghband said.
The bank has been building its credit business and last year hired Sean Peters from Citigroup Inc. to lead its U.S. loan sales team. It hired Joe Dougherty as a managing director for that group in September.
RBC combined its new-issue and secondary loan sales teams, with every sales person marketing loans, high-yield and distressed debt for primary and secondary markets.
RBC arranged $14.4 billion of leveraged loans in the U.S. last year, ranked 12th among underwriters, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It gained three spots from 2010 when it sold $8.2 billion of the debt.
Leveraged loans are those rated below BBB- by S&P (MHP) and less than Baa3 at Moody’s Investors Service.
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