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November 01, 2019  

Societe Generale Enlists JP Morgan Veteran

Societe Generale is bringing in market heavyweight John Cho to lead its asset-backed bond underwriting operation in the U.S.

For the next few weeks, Cho apparently will remain employed as a managing director at J.P. Morgan. He is expected to arrive in SocGen’s New York office by yearend as head of asset-backed bond banking, a post that has been in flux since Dan McGarvey jumped to BNP Paribas in 2018.

Sources said that once on board, Cho will attempt to fortify SocGen’s securitization staff by hiring several more senior professionals.

Cho, previously of Barclays, joined J.P. Morgan in 1997 as part of a team handling origination and structuring of bonds backed by auto loans, auto leases and dealer-floorplan credits. He assumed leadership of the group in 2005, and remained in charge until 2015.

Mirroring its formidable underwriting presence across the structured-finance market, J.P. Morgan was the first or second most-active bookrunner for auto-related securitizations every year during that span — leading or co-leading $236.6 billion of deals, according to Asset-Backed Alert’s ABS Database.

Since 2015, Cho has occupied a top position in J.P. Morgan’s financial-institutions group in which he advises specialty-finance companies on a range of funding options, including securitizations.

As for SocGen, McGarvey’s exit prompted the bank to add his duties to those of structured-product syndicate head Robert Pucel. But that arrangement unraveled when Pucel and senior banker Carl Spalding left this September to join McGarvey at BNP.

SocGen responded to the exits by appointing Laurie Lawler to oversee both origination and syndication while it looked for a permanent replacement.

SocGen was the 14th most active bookrunner of asset-backed bonds in the U.S. over the first nine months of 2019, having worked on 21 deals totaling $21.9 billion. Many of those transactions were backed by auto loans, suggesting that the bank’s existing business could dovetail well with Cho’s experience.