Mizuho Builds High-Yield Team in New York

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Tokyo-based Mizuho Financial Group has added two bankers for its New York team, and intends to add more as it accelerates its high-yield debt trading operation.

Mizuho hired away Randy Li and Robbie Goffin from StormHarbour Partners, which focuses on global fixed income markets. Li and Goggin were named senior members of a team that focuses on unrated speculative debt and private placements. Goffin joined as an executive director reporting to Timothy Murphy, U.S. sales manager for fixed income, while Li reports to Jerry Rizzieri, head of U.S. fixed-income trading.

Mizuho plans to recruit additional bankers to work on "more traditional" junk-rated debt sales, said Patrick Fay, Mizuho's U.S. head of fixed income. Mizuho ranked 19th among U.S. bond underwriters in the quarter ended Sept. 30.

The latest move comes at a time when junk bonds are reaping the benefits of quantitative easing and new market liquidity. As Treasury rates have fallen, investor appetite for yield has fueled an 18-month bull run for junk bonds, which have gained 15.2 percent in 2010 to date, according to the Merrill Lynch High Yield Master II Index. And, despite the higher risk in junk bonds, their default rate continues to decline.

Whether these hires mark a trend is unclear. One high yield analyst recently told eFinancialCareers News that he expects much of the new hiring in the high-yield sector to occur in advisory services, including M&A.

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