In a major shakeup, the Beverly Hills-based brokerage Dabney/Resnick/Imperial LLC is cutting up to 45 workers, eliminating its equities department and reassigning co-founder and Chief Executive Judy Resnick out of a management role.
The changes at the 125-employee securities firm were orchestrated by H. Wayne Snavely, chairman of Torrance-based Imperial Credit Industries Inc., a diversified lender.
Last year, Snavely extended a convertible loan to Dabney/Resnick/Imperial, and he is on the verge of converting the loan into a controlling equity position.
For denizens of Los Angeles' tight-knit securities world, last week's tumult was expected, but still stunning for its speed and breadth.
Dabney/Resnick/Imperial is getting out of stocks, and will return almost exclusively to its home base, which has been research and trading of junk bonds, and private equity and debt deals.
Snavely said shuttering the equities department, a process that began last week, will result in the loss of 35 to 45 jobs.
"The resources of the firm were spread too thin," Snavely said.
Although the move comes as stocks continue to hit record highs, Snavely noted that the Dabney brokers "weren't in the stocks that were participating in the bull market."
Resnick, 55, well-known for her regular financial advice column in Forbes magazine, will spend her time working with high-net-worth women, and penning a financial advice book.
She will retain her title of chairwoman but will cede day-to-day management to a new three-member office of the president.
The office will include Snavely, Randy Wooster and Jason Reese, the latter two formerly managing directors at the brokerage.
Resnick, who was on vacation in Arizona last week, said she did not want to run the brokerage on a day-to-day basis anymore and agreed with the changes.
"I only got back into running the business because Murray (Feinbaum, former chief financial officer) and Neil (Dabney, former partner) left. The firm is cutting back to its core business, which is in high-yield bonds," said Resnick. "Wayne Snavely is a good guy, and together we made a good plan for Dabney/Resnick. We are getting back to our niche."
Added Snavely, "She is not responsible anymore for day-to-day operations, and that is a much better situation for Judy."
Resnick began her career in the Beverly Hills offices of the now-defunct Drexel Burnham Lambert Inc., as a broker to high-net-worth individuals.
Even her detractors regarded her as successful and hard working. She teamed up with Dabney, also formerly of Drexel, to start Dabney/Resnick in 1989.
Only months ago, Resnick and her managing director in charge of equities, John Merriman, spoke of creating a regional securities firm to rival Northern stars such as Montgomery Securities, Sutro & Co. Inc., or Hambrecht & Quist, Inc.
The changes cap a year of turnover in the upper ranks of Dabney/Resnick, including the surprise departure last year of Dabney, who has since started his own shop, the Dabney Group LLC, in West Los Angeles.
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