Bryce Pickering, the recent head of municipal trading at Barclays, is heading to New York-based First Eagle Investments, where he will join former Nuveen muni veterans John Miller and Carl Katerndahl to launch a high-yield municipal bond shop.
Pickering will be the firm’s head of high yield municipal credit trading.
“I am quite excited for the next chapter in my municipal credit adventure,” Pickering said Wednesday on a LinkedIn post. “I am very thankful for all my friends at Barclays and Citi who have helped shape the last 20-plus years of my municipal journey.”
Pickering joined Barclays in July 2019 where he managed a team of eight traders and two analysts. Before that, he was a managing director at Citigroup for more than 18 years with a focus on various sectors like health care, project finance, infrastructure and higher education. He has an economics degree from Harvard University.
Miller, who will formally start on Jan. 2, was hired by First Eagle in September, nearly six months after he left Nuveen the same day the firm announced news of a settlement with Preston Hollow Community Capital that ended a contentious, four-year legal battle in which Miller played a starring role. As longtime manager of Nuveen’s High Yield Municipal Bond Fund, the market’s largest with about $17 billion in assets, Miller dominated the speculative muni space.
Katerndahl, who was at Nuveen for nearly 22 years before leaving in July 2019 and was most recently senior managing director at investment firm Winnick & Company, joined First Eagle in October. As chief operating officer, Katerndahl will oversee day-to-day operations of the high-yield muni team.
“Though the municipal bond market is very large in size, with about $4 trillion outstanding, the muni investment community itself is very tightknit,” said Katerndahl in a press release announcing Pickering’s hire. “Bryce is well known and highly respected within the industry, and we are thrilled to have him in place when John joins First Eagle in January.”
The team is expected to consist of 10 employees, including credit analysts, traders, and product specialists.
The First Eagle High Yield Municipal Fund and the First Eagle Short Duration High Yield Municipal Fund will be the first two vehicles managed by the team and will be effective Jan. 2, 2024.
“We are building a superb high yield muni capability at First Eagle, and I am thrilled that someone of Bryce’s exceptional caliber has elected to join us,” said First Eagle President and Chief Executive Officer Mehdi Mahmud in the release.
The hire comes as Wall Street banks continue to restructure amid low deal volume. Barclays was one of several firms this year that saw cuts.
First Eagle is a privately-owned investment management firm with approximately $131 billion in assets under management as of June 30, 2023. It has 606 employees, including 143 investment professionals, across 13 offices, according to its website.