Last week's departure from Merrill Lynch of Glenn Barnes, European head of structured credit, opens the door for a reunification with his fellow credit "dream team" stars T.J. Lim, former European head of debt, and Kevin Krespi, former head of debt for the Pacific Rim, according to industry sources. The group first came to prominence as the heads of a team at UBS before moving to Dresdner Kleinwort Benson and then Merrill. Now that Barnes, like Lim and Krespi, is without a position, City watchers say the trio could reunite to form a credit "supergroup." Lim, Barnes and Krespi declined comment.
The three are contemplating starting a hedge fund or even a boutique investment bank, but are unlikely to initiate a project before the end of the summer, according to one market official.
The investment banking boutique would likely specialize in raising funding. One senior banker said flaws in the one-stop shop model create opportunities to launch a specialist credit boutique, for example raising money for corporates via securitizations.
Former colleagues said Lim, Barnes and Krespi are great friends, had enjoyed working together and have stacks of cash to seed a new venture. In addition, their skills are complementary. Lim is seen as the manager who commands loyalty and performance in his troops, Barnes is the creative mind and Krespi is the natural salesman. Another former colleague said, "people tend to gravitate to what they know," adding that the three getting back together was likely.
"One thing is for sure, these guys will do something. They will get restless pretty quick," said another former colleague.