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It could be a difficult quarter for leveraged finance bankers.

Now HSBC's London head of leveraged finance has gone

If anyone is fearful about their finance jobs in 2023, it's probably the people who originate leveraged finance loans. Last year was not a good year for leveraged finance bankers: in Europe alone, deals were down 67% according to Bloomberg. Nor does 2023 look much better: Citi's $110m Q3 writedown on leveraged loans on its balance sheet is likely to be repeated across the industry as historic loans are written down, and regulators are taking note. 

This might be why, alongside the senior cuts to its sales team that took place before Christmas, multiple sources inform us that HSBC has parted company with Christopher Norman, its London head of leveraged finance. 

The bank didn't respond to a request to comment on Norman's exit and Norman himself didn't respond to a request to comment on his situation, but we understand that he left late last week.

Norman is understood to be retiring, which is good because there are already a few senior leveraged finance bankers on the market. Morgan Stanley, for example, let go of Alessandro Mazza, a London-based MD in leveraged and acquisition finance, before Christmas. 

Some unwanted lev fin bankers are reinventing themselves. Mason Parker, an MD dismissed by Deutsche Bank in New York in October, is now the president of an energy firm, for example. 

One leveraged finance headhunter says there's limited interest in leveraged finance origination experience right now. Instead, he says banks are interested in people with experience of restructuring non-performing loans - many of whom are veterans who cut their teeth during the financial crisis. He predicts that "big time" cuts are coming to leveraged finance teams soon: "Last year was a car crash for the industry."

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Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash


AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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