Rating agency veteran Eric Friedland has left the world of grading credits and taken on the head of municipal-credit research role at Schroder Investment Management.
Schroders PLC, the British global asset manager with $322.8 billion in total assets, including $2 billion of munis as of March 31, announced Tuesday that Friedland joined the firm two weeks ago.
Friedland, 48, joins the asset manager directly from Fitch Ratings, where since August 2009 he was a member of its global credit-risk team and a senior member of the public finance management team responsible for overseeing credit criteria and policy for the group.
His responsibilities now include overseeing Schroders’ municipal research and analysis, as well as serving as a senior member on the global fixed-income research team.
Wasting no time, on Monday he published his first report — a “quick view” of the debt ceiling debate and its implications for munis.
“Different regions of the country are experiencing different levels of stress so it was important to us to add some significant credit strength through Eric and take advantage of some of the value out there in the beaten-down sectors,” said Dan Scholl, co-head of the tax-exempt fixed-income team in Philadelphia.
Scholl said Friedland’s specific expertise in transportation and health care should be important as the economic recovery continues to stumble, allowing for buying opportunities.
Before August 2009, Friedland was a director of municipal research at Belle Haven Investments. He also served 15 years in the public finance group at bond insurer Financial Security Assurance and earlier was a senior analyst at Moody’s Investors Service.
Karl Dasher, the firm’s head of fixed income, said the hire signifies Schroders’ aim to offer a world-class multi-sector platform for fixed income.
“With over 24 years of investment research experience in the municipal sector, Eric will continue to deepen Schroders’ global fixed-income credit capabilities,” Dasher said in a press release.
The public finance group dates back to 1989 when it was part of Morgan Grenfell; it became part of Schroders in 2003. According to Scholl, the firm has found that the introduction of Build America Bonds in 2008 has had a lasting influence on international investors’ appetite for municipal debt.
“There is more willingness to look at munis within that global framework,” Scholl said, adding that taxable buyers who don’t benefit from tax-exemption are willing to look at the tax-exempt market due to their attractive spreads versus Treasuries.
Friedland is a chartered financial analyst, holds an MBA from Duke University, and received a master of science degree in accounting from Northeastern University. He will be based in New York and Philadelphia, where the public finance team is located.