Barry Zamore, the head of loan trading at UBS Group AG, was terminated after engaging in an allegedly improper transaction.
Zamore, 50, was dismissed at the end of October for violating firm policies, UBS said in a regulatory filing. The Swiss bank terminated him for buying back a loan at the same price from a counterparty, cancelling that transaction and then agreeing to repurchase it the next day during a cell-phone call, according to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority filing.
The counterparty worked at Credit Suisse Group AG, Zamore’s employer before he joined UBS, people familiar with the matter said Tuesday, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.
Representatives for UBS and Credit Suisse declined to comment.
The UBS description to the industry watchdog “is both patently false and defamatory,” John Singer, an attorney for Zamore at Singer Deutsch LLP, said in a statement. The trade “in no way constituted parking or a pre-arranged trade of any kind.”
Traders generally aren’t allowed to pre-arrange trades or transact loans or bonds at the same price back and forth. Zamore received explicit approval for the loan trade in question, and the pricing was not agreed to ahead of time, according to Singer. The sale and purchase prices weren’t the same, he said, adding that Zamore will fight to have the mark on his employment record expunged.
Zamore, a managing director, oversaw loan trading at UBS since joining in 2016. He spent the previous 23 years at Credit Suisse, where he started the loan trading desk in 1996 and led par loan trading. That segment of the market deals with the trading of company debt that is non-distressed. It’s called par because the loans tend to trade closer to 100 cents on the dollar.
He’s a well-known figure in the close-knit world of Wall Street loan traders. He once waged a multiyear battle to convince the world’s largest financial institutions to stop charging investors a fee every time a loan they underwrote was traded, successfully organizing a coalition that eventually persuaded several big banks to eliminate the charges.
During his tenure at Credit Suisse, he repeatedly clashed with JPMorgan Chase & Co., one of the only holdouts with respect to so-called “assignment fees,” publicly denouncing the practice of charging to trade each non-investment grade loan it sold.
Zamore’s termination marks at least the second time over the past 12 months that UBS has dismissed a senior credit executive for allegedly running afoul of the bank’s internal rules. Last December, UBS fired Jim Boland, its head of Americas leveraged finance, for allegedly failing to provide full information to his managers about changes to a transaction, Finra records show. Boland and his attorney did not respond to repeated requests for comment. The Wall Street Journal in April reported that Boland is appealing his dismissal.