Amy Silverzweig, 33, Barclays
After only a couple years at the firm, Amy Silverzweig is now the top dog on Barclays’ US distressed credit desk, according to several sources familiar with the firm. Though she hasn’t been officially promoted, she’s now effectively running a team that’s known as a talented competitor in the industry but has had a challenging run in 2020.
Silverzweig, a loan-trading expert known across the street for her colorful personality, joined Barclays in 2018 after 11 years at Goldman Sachs. She quickly elevated the firm’s game, industry insiders say, generating more than $40 million in revenue in 2019.
Silverzweig has been working on Wall Street for nearly 15 years. She studied English and economics at Dartmouth College, graduating in three years, in 2007, before jumping into a career in trading at Goldman Sachs at age 20.
She earned a reputation as a skilled loan trader with an irrepressible work ethic and passion for trading. She’s unafraid to push the gas on risk, people who’ve worked with her said, and she’s developed relationships at some of the industry’s top hedge funds, winning both fear and admiration from buy-side counterparts.
She placed second on Greenwich Associates’ 2019 list of the market’s most helpful sell-side distressed traders.
Others are wary of locking horns with her. When she finds a name she likes, she will sometimes pile in, build a big position and force other desks to trade, according to one buy-side trader.
“When she picks up a new name or smells an opportunity, it’s a fact that guys at other firms will just get really down on themselves and just be like, oh f—, Amy’s involved,” the trader said. “She grabs market share and she will push the position to the point that it becomes uncomfortable for people.”
Silverzweig has also developed a charismatic office presence. People who’ve worked with her described her as smart, energetic, outspoken, and entertaining.
It’s not uncommon for her to attract stares among the uninitiated during the heat of a trading day, where she’s known for an in-your-face fervor, rushing up and down the aisles.
“Whatever’s on her mind is coming out of her mouth, and coming out loud,” one source who’s worked with her said. “So laser-focused and energetic. She loves the job and just wants to trade loans and make money.”
She’ll need to tap that boundless energy and drive to help turn around Barclays distressed fortunes in 2020. When previous group head Adam Yarnold left for an extended leave of absence, Silverzweig and top distressed analyst Brad Sweeney effectively took the reins of the team, but Sweeney left this summer for BNP Paribas. While Silverzweig has had a strong trading year personally, insiders say, Barclays’ team in aggregate was among the worst performers in the first half of 2020.