The former head of U.S. leveraged finance at Merrill Lynch has joined Ares Management.

Greg Margolies is now a senior partner and head of the capital markets group for the Los Angeles-based alternative asset manager, according to an Ares press release.

Margolies was most recently the head of global leveraged finance and capital commitments for Merrill, as well as a member of the firm’s executive board. Margolies worked in the leveraged finance products groups of Deutsche Bank’s DB Capital and the Carlyle Group before joining Merrill in 2003. He began his career in 1989 at Citibank.

Margolies' appointment is part of a larger effort to expand geographically and across financial markets, according to the release. The firm had $30 billion under management as of December 2008 and is headquartered in Los Angeles with offices in New York, London, Chicago and Atlanta.Leve

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