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SF market round up: Merrill suffers multiple departures

Merrill Lynch’s real estate team is looking decidedly thinner on the ground after a series of recent departures. CMBS head Nassar Hussain has left the bank along with John Bigley and Pascal Richard. They are understood to be heading off to different ventures: Hussain is rumoured to be setting up a Middle East-based property fund.

This is quite a hit for the team – which is headed by Stephen Green. Hussain had responsibility for CMBS but was still ultimately under Green’s authority.

Merrill established its European CMBS conduit – Taurus – in early 2005, at around the same time as it raided Citigroup’s investment banking group to rebuild its real estate business. Bigley joined the CMBS team along with David Beale from S&P in early 2005 as well – the string of hires an indication of Merrill’s determination to build this business. Merrill also poached Joe Pedlow from Citi a year ago to join its real estate team. CMBS is now back directly under Stephen Green’s remit after Hussain’s departure and the bank presumably has some hiring to do to return to full strength.

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