Jefferies just hired a Navy SEAL from Goldman Sachs to join a desk that's had a brutal time

Joe FeminiaFox NewsJoe Femenia

Jefferies has hired Goldman Sachs managing director and former Navy SEAL
Joseph V. Femenia to join its distressed-debt trading team.
He’s joining as a senior trader and manager in the high-yield group, according to a person familiar with the hire.

Bloomberg News first reported the hire.

Femenia, 39, graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1998. He served in the US Navy until July 2005, serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Afterwards, he earned his MBA from Columbia University.

He began his career at Goldman Sachs as a vice president in distressed debt trading. He was made a managing director in November 2013.

It’s been a challenging environment for distressed trading across Wall Street. Jefferies was one the firms that took a a big hit in distressed trading in 2015, especially during the period of volatility in August.

Shortly afterwards, CEO Rich Handler sent out a motivational memo to clients and employees addressing the trading desk’s pain.

“We don’t like this at all, but we are in the business of providing liquidity and capital to our clients. Generally, when we pick the right clients to support, they remember who was there for them in challenging times and are fair partners over the long term — and we all know it is a very long race, indeed,” he wrote.

In the bank’s third quarter earnings release, Jefferies revealed that it had losses totaling $90 million over the previous nine months across more than 25 distressed energy positions.

The Jefferies’ ‘tribe’

Back in January, Jefferies held an off-site leadership program where executives were addressed by Clint Bruce, a retired US Navy SEAL officer and a former NFL player.

In a memo to employees, CEO Rich Handler wrote that during Bruce’s talk, they were taught the importance of thinking like a tribe as opposed to a team.

“A team is a collection of people all working for a common goal. A tribe is a collection of people who know why they are together, are passionate about each other, bleed for a unified common cause and trust each other implicitly,” Handler wrote.

Welcome to the tribe, Femenia.

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