People: Hearn, Berman and Kennedy head for the exit


Alex Chambers
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“It’s the right time to go for me. I was going to go a year ago. It’s been 25 years and I’m 50 years old. Time for new blood to fight the new fight!” says Paul Hearn on announcing his retirement from BNP Paribas in January.

Hearn is retiring as co-head of marketing – a role that incorporated the distribution and origination of all credit, rates and FX products. He joined the French bank in 2000 as head of investment-grade credit, a role he held for five years before taking on the job he had until last month working alongside marketing co-head David Brunner.

Frédéric Janbon, global head of fixed income, will take on Hearn’s duties until a replacement is found. Hearn told Euromoney that he had always promised himself that he’d retire from the business at 50.

"I hope I’m going with some degree of people thinking: ‘It’s a shame he’s gone’, rather than thinking: ‘Isn’t it time he buggered off?’," he says.

Before joining BNP Paribas, Hearn spent 15 years at JPMorgan in syndicate and origination roles.

He will not return to a similar position at an investment bank but does not rule out returning to some type of role in the market.

Charlie Berman is one of the big names leaving DCM

Charlie Berman is one of the big names leaving DCM

"I didn’t even manage to get a redundancy package," he says, alluding to the payoffs that some other senior bankers have received as institutions grapple to reduce their cost base in the face of evaporating revenues.

A series of senior originators have recently left the business. Two of the better known are Charlie Berman and James Garvey – formerly of Citi and Goldman Sachs respectively. Both are expected to return to the financial markets in some shape or form, although, like Hearn, not in an originating role at an investment bank.

Frank Kennedy, a UBS veteran who has held a series of positions in fixed income and FIG coverage, announced his retirement from the business in mid-December and told Euromoney he had no intention of coming back to work at an investment bank either.

Having spent 20-plus years in banking, many officials have decided that the grind of doing business in the coming years is not that attractive. The obvious implication is that compensation will not match the levels of the boom years. Banks’ withdrawal from businesses such as securitization, structured credit, leveraged finance and proprietary trading should increase the worth of those senior officials left in sectors still standing such as traditional debt origination. But the continuing fight banks are having over fees with public sector borrowers, for instance, shows the pressure bond underwriters are under to increase their profitability.