10/08/2010

JVB Closes NY Office in Takeover by Cohen

JVB Financial has shown the door to its New York staff, less than a month after the broker-dealer agreed to sell its operations to Cohen & Co.

Initially, Cohen said it would sign three-year employment contracts with all 82 of JVB's staffers, most of whom work in the firm's Boca Raton, Fla., headquarters. But within two weeks of striking the deal on Sept. 14, Philadelphia-based Cohen decided to shutter the shop's New York outpost and dismiss the office's entire workforce.

The group encompassed about a dozen salesmen focused on institutional clients, along with a few traders.

Cohen apparently saw more value in JVB's main trading desk in Boca Raton. "They found some overlaps in trading and sales," a former member of JVB's New York team said.

JVB trades a range of credit instruments, including asset-backed securities, mortgage bonds and other structured products. While the firm is an established player in the fixed-income market, it was only last year that it opened a New York office in an effort to attract more business from Wall Street banks and other large institutions. To lead the charge, the shop hired former Morgan Keegan executive Stephen DiTursi as a managing director and member of its board.

DiTursi was among those targeted for layoffs in recent weeks, though some staffers apparently quit before getting pink slips. Also gone are senior vice president Chris Glacken, who specialized in mortgage-bond trading, and senior sales executives Juliana Attwood, Aaron Fuchs, Victor Silano, Larry Sodokoff, Phillip Toth and Kevin Walsh.

DiTursi has since resurfaced in the New York office of Stone & Youngberg, a San Francisco investment manager. He joined as a managing director in charge of institutional sales and trading.

Cohen, a credit-focused broker and asset manager, is buying JVB for $16.6 million of cash and stock. The deal is scheduled to close during the fourth quarter.

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