MF Pro’s Hiring Delivers Boost to Mesirow

Benita Levy, a longtime securitization specialist who co-headed MF Global’s Chicago office, has resurfaced at Mesirow Financial.

Levy arrived at Mesirow on Nov. 21 as a managing director on the Chicago broker-dealer’s institutional sales-and-trading desk, with a focus on asset-backed securities, residential and commercial mortgage bonds, collateralized debt obligations and U.S. Treasury securities. Market players say her hiring particularly promises to boost the shop’s securitization business, where it recently has been adding personnel to a team established in the aftermath of the market crash.

“Hiring Benita is really going to put these guys on the map in the structured-product space,” a trader at a rival broker-dealer said.

Levy’s move comes amid the dispersion of MF Global’s staff across the financial marketplace, following the brokerage’s dramatic collapse on Oct. 31. However, she is the first person from the firm with high-profile securitization expertise to land a new job. Others, including Philip Hermann and Evan Malik — who co-headed asset- and mortgage-backed securities sales and trading in New York — are in talks with prospective employers.

Levy had only joined MF in June, coming over from FTN Financial to lead the company’s 600-person Chicago outpost alongside John Brady. Her primary tasks included overseeing an effort by the shop to build on its presence as a futures and options broker by expanding its structured-product sales-and-trading business.

Levy started her career in 1986 at Salomon Brothers, eventually becoming a managing director in charge of fixed-income sales in the Midwest at successor Citigroup — with an emphasis on securitization. She left in 2005 to join FTN.

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