With the Release of a New Textbook, The Credit Investor’s Handbook, Adjunct Professor Michael Gatto Brings Insights on Credit Market Investing Careers to the Classroom
| Jan 30, 2024 | Gabelli School of Business
Sharing Decades of Working with Top Investors, He’s Inspiring the Next Generation of Credit Analysts and Finance Professionals
Gabelli School of Business Adjunct Professor Michael Gatto became interested in the credit markets decades ago, and is a highly respected credit expert. He has worked alongside some of the world’s most successful credit investors, previously at Goldman Sachs’ Special Situations Desk where he focused on distressed credit, and currently as partner and head of Private Side Businesses at Silver Point Capital (a $20 billion credit-focused fund). His schedule is frenetic, yet he has chosen to share his knowledge and deep enthusiasm for the credit markets with his students at the Gabelli School of Business.
His passion for imparting his expertise began when he was a credit analyst and head of Global New Entry Training at Citibank, and it has continued to this day. At the time, Citibank was just starting to break into investment banking, and Gatto was tasked with revamping it respected credit training program in the fundamentals of credit analysis for new hires. After leaving Citibank, Gatto expanded his experience and taught credit analysis for other financial institutions around the world as an independent consultant. He filled a knowledge gap in companies and organizations whose employees had not had training in credit analysis at the undergraduate or graduate level.
“Historically, no universities taught credit analysis,” he noted. “Because there weren’t any textbooks available, no one taught you how to analyze making a credit investment vs. equity or real estate. Instead, all the banks offered their own intense credit training programs.” Since then, a lot has changed in what is required of new graduates entering the financial services workforce. “Banks have changed their training programs and now they expect you to already have this knowledge when you are hired,” he explained. Also, banks are no longer the main institutions hiring many of these professionals. Private credit firms are now more prominent in the market and they expect to hire trained credit professionals. This shift, he explained, is one of the reasons he has continued teaching. It also has served as the motive for writing his new book, The Credit Investor’s Handbook: Leveraged Loans, High Yield Bonds, and Distressed Debt, Wiley Finance, 2023.
“I wrote this as a textbook that I can assign for my courses and recommend to my colleagues in both the investing and academic realms,” he asserted. “I have included as close to everything I know about credit analysis in these pages.” The book helps to guide finance majors pursuing investing careers, arms credit analysts with the knowledge they need to enhance their skills, and is a resource for seasoned professionals who seek to expand their expertise.
The growing demand for well-trained credit analysts was also the genesis for establishing the O’Shea Center for Credit Analysis and Investment. It was founded in 2020, with a naming gift from Robert O’Shea GABELLI ‘87, a long-time friend and colleague of Gatto’s, who is founder of Silver Point Capital and former partner at Goldman Sachs, his wife Michele O’Shea FCRH ’88, and a very generous gift from Gatto himself. The Center formally launched in 2022 with Gatto serving as its director, working tirelessly to fulfill the Center’s mission of bridging the gap between academia and the financial markets by focusing on three main priorities—education, networking opportunities, and connection to industries. Since the Center’s launch, a secondary concentration in credit that helps students to compete for top-tier jobs has been established, a series of networking and professional learning opportunities has been introduced, and initiatives to give back to underserved communities in the Bronx have been instituted.
When asked what advice he gives to his students about how to be successful in today’s rapidly evolving world of business, he reflects on what helped him map out his career when he was first starting out. “Learn the technical skills the market cares about and get the best job you can. Then work hard and develop a reputation for being a hard worker who is reliable,” he counseled. He also stressed the important of finding a mentor for support and guidance.
“I discovered I have a passion for not only the technical aspects of being a credit investor, but also for the human element of teaching the students and guiding them in their careers,” he explained. This is apparent from the first-hand war stories, reflections from industry professionals, and humor he infuses into his writing in the book. It’s also clear from the popularity of the classes he teaches and the incredibly well-attended events he hosts, that his students see the great value in his vast knowledge and deeply appreciate his willingness to share it.
Written by: Paola Curcio-Kleinman, senior director of marketing and communications and Michelle Miller, associate director of communications, Gabelli School of Business