Goldman Distressed-Debt Trader Zhang Said to Depart for RBC

  • Zhang to help build out Royal Bank’s distressed-trading unit
  • Hire is latest by RBC to diversify its U.S. debt business

Royal Bank of Canada hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s Yan Zhang to help build out its U.S. distressed-debt trading platform.

Zhang will be a managing director based in New York and report to Sal Morale, who oversees 34 people as head of leveraged-finance trading, sales and strategy, according to a person briefed on the matter, who asked not to be identified because the move hasn’t been announced publicly.

Royal Bank’s RBC Capital Markets unit has been recruiting for its U.S. operations in the past year, including high-yield-trading head Todd Bondy; distressed-debt traders David Schulte and Marc Aiello; strategists Brian McKeon and Brad Eilert; and salespeople Chris McManus and Diana Thomas. The company also added restructuring banker Mark Cohen from Deutsche Bank AG last month.

Zhang’s hiring is part of a broader build-out of the firm’s distressed-debt business as the Toronto-based lender to diversify its investment-grade debt business. At Goldman Sachs, Zhang worked for partner Adam Savarese, who heads the distressed-debt desk. Under Savarese, Goldman loaded up on borrowings from energy companies including Peabody Energy Corp. and Energy Future Holdings Corp., beaten down names that lost money in the first quarter, people with knowledge of the matter said earlier this week.

Royal Bank earned about 22 percent of its annual profit last year from RBC Capital Markets, which has offices in 15 countries and employs more than 7,200 people, according to the company. The Canadian lender has expanded its U.S. investment-banking platform in the past decade, taking advantage of the 2008 financial crisis to recruit and extend operations as foreign firms retreated and large U.S. rivals scaled back.

Read also: Goldman said to get burned by coal, retail in trading miss

— With assistance by Hugh Son

(Updates with RBC unit in last paragraph. An earlier version of this story corrected the spelling of Aiello’s first name.)
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