Prudential Hires Goldman’s Cignarella for Bonds, Loans

Prudential Financial Inc., the second-largest U.S. life insurer, hired Robert Cignarella as co-head of global leveraged finance from Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Cignarella will join in January and help oversee more than $33 billion, including bank loans and high-yield bonds in the U.S. and Europe, the Newark, New Jersey-based company said today in a statement. He’ll work with Paul Appleby, a managing director and the current head of Prudential Fixed Income’s leveraged finance team.

“Rob’s more than 20 years of experience and insight in leveraged finance will be a valuable addition in leading our investment management efforts,” Appleby said in the statement.

Chief Executive Officer John Strangfeld, 59, is bolstering Prudential’s asset-management businesses to expand fee income, a strategy also pursued by rivals including MetLife Inc. and Principal Financial Group Inc. Prudential Fixed Income had about $397 billion in assets under management as of Sept. 30, compared with $232 billion at the end of 2009.

Loans to junk-rated companies in the U.S. are on pace to exceed $1 trillion this year, a level not seen before the financial crisis. The boom is being fueled by lenders and investors seeking to boost returns as the Federal Reserve keeps interest rates at about zero for a fifth year.

Cignarella was a managing director and co-head of high yield and bank loans at Goldman Sachs’s asset-management unit, according to the statement. He also served as a high-yield portfolio manager and credit analyst at the New York-based bank.

Goldman Alumni

Insurers have poached money managers from Goldman Sachs as they pursue more complex investment strategies. Aflac Inc. hired Eric Kirsch as chief investment officer in 2011 and Lincoln National Corp. named Ellen Cooper to a similar post in 2012. Andrea Raphael, a spokeswoman for Goldman Sachs, declined to comment on the latest departure.

Cignarella has a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, according to the statement.

Prudential advanced 0.6 percent to $89.17 at 2:35 p.m. in New York. The insurer has surged 67 percent this year, beating the 25 percent gain in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.