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Western Asset Hires Deutsche Bank’s Trifon for Real Estate Debt

Harris Trifon, who ran commercial real estate debt and asset-backed research at Deutsche Bank AG, has left the bank to join Western Asset Management Co. as it boosts it securitized-bond team.

Trifon, set to start at the firm’s offices in Pasadena, California, in March, will be a portfolio manager and research analyst overseeing commercial real estate investments for the fixed-income unit of Legg Mason Inc., Mary Athridge, a spokeswoman for the money manager, said in an e-mailed statement. Trifon will report to Anup Agarwal, the head of structured products.

“Trifon has joined Western Asset’s mortgage team, underlying our continued commitment to the mortgage sectors,” Athridge said. “We believe there remain very attractive investment opportunities,” in the segment, she said.

The company is pushing into commercial-property bonds as it rebuilds a team dedicated to securities backed by everything from mortgages to auto loans after a string of departures during the last two years. Agarwal, who ran credit and research for mortgage- and asset-backed securities at Invesco Ltd., joined the money manager in July. He replaced Ron Mass, who departed in 2012 after 21 years at the company.

Trifon, who was based in New York, oversaw Deutsche Bank’s commercial-mortgage backed securities research team for five years as the market recovered after shutting down for more than a year in the wake of the financial crisis. The Frankfurt-based lender was the top underwriter of new deals last year as U.S. issuance doubled to $80 billion, according to industry newsletter Commercial Mortgage Alert.

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