ABN AMRO is considering whether to enter the U.S high-yield origination, sales and trading business. Peter O'Malley, managing director and head of U.S. debt capital markets, says the considerations are in a nascent stage and stresses that it may well decide not to start up a junk bond business. O'Malley adds that entering the junk market would be part of the bank's broader goal of moving up in the U.S. debt league tables. That the high-yield market is at a favorable point in the credit cycle is partly why the bank is considering such a move now, he adds. He declines to speculate as to what might trigger the bank to move into high-yield and stresses the considerations will not necessarily lead to such a group.
O'Malley is responsible for the high-grade side and says any sub-investment grade operation would likely be contained within a separate department. The thinking comes as the Dutch bank has made several key hires for its U.S. structured products business in the last year or so as part of a concerted effort to break into the securitization market (BW, 2/24).
On the high-grade side, O'Malley says the bank has led roughly 40 deals so far this year, versus 28 for all of last year. O'Malley says the bank will likely reach a decision in the next six to eight weeks.