Cantor Fitzgerald LP has hired Kevin Reynolds and Timothy Swift from Cowen & Co. to lead a team that would bring in and distribute new debt deals as part of an effort to expand its leveraged-finance business.

The pair focused on middle-market debt financing at Cowen and will have a similar role leading Cantor’s debt capital markets origination group, according to Shawn Matthews, chief executive officer of the firm’s brokerage unit. The team will also establish a liability management business across fixed income.

“We are aggressively moving into leveraged finance, especially with the distressed cycle emerging,” Matthews said in an interview Tuesday. “We will be hiring many more in the space.”

Companies are seeking to expand their presence in the below investment-grade debt market, which last year experienced its first losses since the 2008 financial crisis. U.S. high-yield bond and leveraged-loan sales climbed to almost $1 trillion in 2015, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Before Cowen, Reynolds worked at Gleacher & Co. and spent 12 years at UBS Group AG, according to Financial Industry Regulatory Authority records. He will join Cantor as a managing director. Swift, who is joining as director, has previously worked at firms including CRT Capital Group LLC and RW Pressprich & Co.

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