The Seaport Group, a research and relationship driven brokerage boutique, is beefing up its efforts in dealing with off-the-run bank loans and large loan sales, trade claims and the equity of reorganized companies, said Marc Baum, chief operating officer. The firm has been increasing its staff to support these efforts, adding Terry Horn, senior v.p., to work with bank loans, John Sosnowski as v.p. of research and I-Wen Lim as a research associate.
Horn was previously a managing director with the North American loan syndication group at ABN Amro, where he was responsible for growing the firm's bank loan product and expanding its investor base to include insurance companies, hedge funds, CLO and CDO managers. Sosnowski is a former v.p. of corporate finance at UBS Warburg. Lim was previously a financial analyst in the mergers and acquisitions group at CIBC World Markets.
Other recent changes at the firm include recognizing trade claims brokerage as an entity in itself. Bill Wong, managing director, has moved from the special situations group at Seaport to head the trade claims business. The supply of trade claims available to distressed debt investors has increased dramatically because of the large number of bankruptcies, and this vehicle offers investors another option to participate in the debt of companies they follow, explained Baum.
The brokerage firm is looking to concentrate on sectors that will need to be entirely restructured--namely telecommunications, energy, and airline--and build an analytical framework that will deal with these industries. "We're not trying to out street the Street," said Baum, explaining, "We're doing the stuff that people aren't talking about."
Seaport intends to be involved in all points of the capital structure, but Baum explained the focus has recently shifted to bank debt as the market has seen increased volume in the secondary market over the last year. Investors are looking to play their relative-value cards to seek the instrument they deem to have the most value, he explained. In terms of strategy, Seaport also aims to be involved in distressed debt all the way through to the very end, even to the point where they become involved in brokering the equity in the reorganized company. While the company is always looking for seasoned professionals and talented individuals to train, Baum noted, "We grow conservatively."