Cohen & Co. last week opened a Los Angeles office for its middle market loan and CLO collateral management unit Emporia Capital Management. Cohen snagged David Ligon and Gary Kirshner from Union Bank of California, where they were group heads of the bank's equity sponsored lending team. The two join Cohen as managing directors.

The move will give Emporia a West Coast presence, as well as the ability to offer sponsored loan origination along with the unit's current middle market finance offerings, Chris Ricciardi, Cohen's chief executive, said last week.

Emporia provides financing for middle market growth, buyouts, leveraged buildups and leveraged recap senior debt financings. Cohen's Emporia unit has two CDOs under management, the $425 million Emporia Preferred Funding I, which closed in October 2005, and the $365.9 million Emporia Preferred Funding II, which closed in June. Emporia Capital Management - initially called Cohen Brothers CLO Manager - was formed in March 2005.

Cohen has been building its CLO business for a while, adding at least two portfolio managers to the Emporia team since its first issue, along with an additional staff member allocated to CDO administration and operation. The team reports to Kevin Braddish, managing director and chief financial officer.

(c) 2006 Asset Securitization Report and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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