Jefferies Said to Hire Goldman's Femenia for Distressed Debt

  • Joe Femenia, an ex-Navy SEAL, is a Goldman managing director
  • Drew Doscher, who led distressed debt, left Jefferies in 2015

Jefferies Group, the investment bank owned by Leucadia National Corp., hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s Joe Femenia to run distressed-debt trading, people familiar with the move said.

Femenia, 39, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and former Navy SEAL, will take on many of the duties of former distressed-debt head Drew Doscher, who left Jefferies in December, according to the people, who asked not to be identified discussing personnel. Femenia, head of U.S. leveraged-loan trading at Goldman Sachs, was named a managing director in 2013. He declined to comment when reached by phone, as did Tiffany Galvin, a Goldman Sachs spokeswoman.

Marisa and Joe Femenia at a 2014 fundraiser for the Navy SEAL Foundation.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Revenue from trading stocks and bonds tumbled 82 percent at Jefferies in the three months ended Feb. 29. The bank posted a $166.8 million loss in the fiscal first quarter as fixed-income and equity trading revenue dropped to $58.5 million. Chief Executive Officer Richard Handler said he was “humbled" by the results and vowed to do better.

Femenia, who also has an MBA from Columbia University, served on the board of the Navy SEAL Foundation, a group that he helped found. He started at Goldman Sachs in 2007, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Doscher, 46, joined Jefferies in 2013 from Seaport Group LLC. Before that, he ran distressed debt at UBS Group AG and Barclays Plc.

Distressed-debt trading at banks including Jefferies suffered after a decline in the prices of risky corporate debt intensified last year. Moody’s Investors Service said last month that the number of U.S. companies at the highest risk of default had approached levels not seen since the worst of the financial crisis, creating opportunities for money managers who invest in distressed securities. 

Jefferies lost about $90 million over nine months trading bonds of distressed energy borrowers, the company said in September.

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