A 20-year Wall Street veteran has joined distressed debt shop Marathon as the market for troubled companies heats up

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A 20-year Wall Street veteran has joined distressed debt shop Marathon as the market for troubled companies heats up

One of the world’s largest credit hedge funds is adding to its stable of traders who wager in the market for distressed corporate debt just as gyrating stock markets lead investors and pundits to question whether a US recession is on the horizon.

$15 billion Marathon Asset Management, which specializes in distressed debt, hired Cantor Fitzgerald’s Rohit Bansal to be a senior credit trader in its distressed-debt group, according to a person with knowledge of the hire. Bansal is set to start January 3, the person said.

Bansal, hired as a managing director to run Cantor’s distressed-debt trading group in 2016, left the firm in December, according to a Cantor spokeswoman. Bansal has held similar roles at Jefferies and Citigroup, and also worked at Goldman Sachs, according to industry records. He’s worked on Wall Street for around 20 years.

Marathon was founded by Bruce Richards and Louis Hanover in 1998, and now manages nearly $15 billion. The firm manages investing strategies in corporate and structured credit, leveraged and private lending, emerging markets, and real estate. In October 2017, Marathon said it began planning for a new distressed debt fund to capitalize on the next US recession, which Richards reckoned could come as soon as 2019.

Distressed debt traders look to buy bonds and loans of struggling companies, betting they can recover value by playing an active role in restructuring the obligations or otherwise benefitting from the firm’s improving financial health. Investors are growing worried about the ability of companies to repay their debt. The market for leveraged loans, or those made to riskier companies, suffered its biggest loss last month since August 2011, according to Bloomberg data. The market for high-yield bonds also suffered as investors pull money from funds that buy the debt.

Distressed debt hedge funds gained about 1% in 2018, compared to a loss of 4% across all strategies, according to BarclayHedge, a composite of fund performance.

Bansal declined to comment, and a spokesperson at Marathon didn’t return calls for comment.

Bansal is the second credit trader to leave Cantor in the last few weeks, with Drew Meany also departing. Meany joined Deutsche Bank as a managing director in high-yield credit trading, people with knowledge of his hiring said last month.

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