MORRISTOWN, N.J. — High-level personnel turnover at W.R. Huff Asset Management Co. LLC is prompting a number of pension funds to review their allocations to the high-yield bond and distressed debt money management firm run by iconoclastic industry veteran William R. Huff.
Those leaving the Morristown-based firm include Ed Banks, a senior portfolio manager and 18-year Huff veteran, and Matt Swope, an analyst-portfolio manager with five years at Huff. Both left in early October. A few weeks later, Ken Harmonay, a senior portfolio manager with 17 years at Huff, and Bill Connors, a senior portfolio manager with 14 years at the firm, departed.
In a telephone interview, Mr. Huff said he and Mr. Banks, whom he said had taken on a largely client-service role for the high-yield bond portfolios, had "a mutual parting of the ways." Mr. Huff said he terminated Messrs. Harmonay and Connors as part of a reorganization designed to put an end to years of performance-damaging style drift by having Mr. Huff himself resume control of the firm's portfolios.
Mr. Banks said he and Mr. Swope left the firm "on very good terms" after an extended period of talks with Mr. Huff about Mr. Banks' interest in striking out on his own. Mr. Banks said he and Mr. Swope are raising money to launch a new firm focused on "distressed and stressed credits" — tentatively named Sato Capital Management.
Mr. Connors didn't return phone messages; Mr. Harmonay couldn't immediately be contacted.