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Regions Financial Hires Findling to Head High-Yield Bond Trading

Dec. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Regions Financial Corp., the largest bank in Alabama, hired Andrew Findling to head junk-bond trading for its broker-dealer unit.

Findling, 38, joined Morgan Keegan Inc. on Dec. 1 and reports to Richard Travis, said Kevin Giddis, president of fixed income, in a telephone interview. He previously worked as a high-yield trader at Morgan Stanley and BlackRock Inc.

The hiring is part of “a new effort” to win more speculative-grade bond underwriting and co-management assignments, particularly among energy companies, Giddis said. It comes at the end of a year of record junk-bond issuance, with $275.2 billion in debt issued as of Dec. 8, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“We as a firm made a decision earlier this year to expand our efforts in the high-yield space,” said Neal Smith, who heads corporate-bond banking at Morgan Keegan. Findling, who is based in New York, joins a team of about 150 fixed-income institutional sales professionals.

So far this year, the company has served as co-manager on 15 deals, including a $750 million issuance from Energy XXI Gulf Coast Inc. and a $300 million offering from Berry Petroleum Co., Smith said. That compares with eight such assignments last year.

Junk bonds are high-yield, high-risk and rated below Baa3 by Moody’s Investors Service and less than BBB- by S&P.

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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