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Streetwise Onex taps ousted RBC executive Fleming for head of origination post

Onex Corp. has hired a former Royal Bank of Canada senior executive to help it expand a division that invests in higher-risk loans and debt securities.

Onex, the Toronto-based private-equity firm with US$31-billion in assets under management, said it brought in Blair Fleming as head of origination at Onex Credit, to search for and evaluate middle-market type opportunities in the field.

Mr. Fleming made headlines last year when he was terminated as RBC Capital Markets’ head of U.S. investment banking. The bank said in June that his departure was triggered by a failure to “comply with our disclosure and conflict of interest policies relating to workplace relationships.”

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He was engaged in a relationship with an employee that was consensual, but violated the bank’s policies, Bloomberg reported at the time, quoting a person briefed on the matter. RBC’s decision to part ways with Mr. Fleming came amid a wave of high-profile cases of powerful executives and their companies facing scrutiny over allegations of improper behaviour toward colleagues or other people over whom they held influence.

"Joining Onex Credit is a unique opportunity for me, having known and worked with Onex for more than 20 years,” Mr. Fleming said in a statement issued by Onex on Monday.

Neither Mr. Fleming nor an official with Onex were immediately available to comment further on Mr. Fleming’s appointment.

He had been with Royal Bank since 1986, and helped RBC Dominion Securities expand its syndicated loan business. In 2009, he took over as the head of RBC’s U.S. investment banking division. In 2014, he was promoted to lead the bank’s entire capital-markets business in the United States.

At Onex, Mr. Fleming will be in charge of expanding the credit division’s US$11-billion private lending portfolio, which includes leveraged loans, collateralized loan obligations and other credit securities. In 2018, Onex Credit increased its assets under management by 7 per cent, the company reported last week.

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