Investment firm Cohen & Co. Securities has launched a new leveraged finance business, the New York-based firm announced today.

The group will provided banking, sales, trading and research. Scott Siemers and Ken Casey will lead the unit as managing directors and report to Cohen & Co. CEO Christopher Ricciardi.

Siemers is a veteran of high yield trading, with stints at Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette, Credit Suisse and JPMorgan; he also served as a senior banker at Guggenheim Capital Markets. Casey was head of high yield trading at Kidder Peabody, Miller Tabak and Guggenheim.

Also joining the leveraged finance group are Larry Berger and Kevin McDonald, who serve as senior institutional salesman; senior traders Brad Wendler, Charles Womack and Alan Hunt and senior research analyst Keith Gudhus. The firm plans to add sales, research and baking staff to the group over the next several quarters.

Cohen & Co. is an investment management firm that focuses on fixed-income investments. It also serves as an institutional broker dealer and has additional offices in Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Paris, London and Tokyo.

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