Since hiring Maryam Muessel as its chief operating officer and structured finance group head, American Capital Access has added several key staffers to its team, and is still in the market for two more senior hires: a credit derivative portfolio manager and a risk manager with practical derivative experience. ACA hopes to close on these two positions within the next 30 to 60 days.

Most recently ACA hired Chris Skardon and Dave Zimmer, both reporting to Muessel, who joined ACA in mid-April, just weeks after Bill Tomljanovic. All four were at Prudential Securities when the bank shut its structured finance unit last fall.

Both Muessel and Zimmer spent a short time at General Re before jumping to ACA, to pursue what Muessel describes as a "once in a lifetime opportunity" to build the dream, hybrid financial insurance platform/asset management shop.

Notably, ACA is in the process of launching the broker/dealer component of its business, which Zimmer will be heading up. Zimmer was a senior vice-president at Pru, and had been running the taxable, fixed-income MBS/ABS sales department since 1989.

Skardon, who was hired as an ABS portfolio manager for ACA, was a first vice president and senior trader focusing on real estate product at Pru. Skardon has also been a senior trader at Barclays Capital and Deutsche Bank.

Essentially, ACA will try to create an asset management capacity that will bridge insurance risk management, involving credit analysis with a hold to maturity objective, with capital markets relative value assessment, Muessel said.

"Hence, ACA will be positioning itself as a diversified financial insurance company, proactively participating in the structured finance market utilizing securitization and derivative technology," Muessel said.

For example, ACA could partner with an investment bank to originate a portfolio of investment grade asset backed securities, retaining a small amount of the nominal exposure with the capital markets participating in the remainder. In this instance, ACA would be the asset manager. The company would be paid an amount attributable to its various roles in the transaction: originator, insurer, and manager. Alternatively, this transaction could be accomplished with ACA partnering with a third-party asset manager.

In addition to the above candidates, ACA recently added Steve Margetis and Brian Mandel, both directors with responsibilities in the structured finance business, including customized financial solutions. Specifically, Margetis is a structuring and quantitative analyst while Mandel is an ABS analyst. The firm also hired Neveen Bhalla and Ava Borbely, both assistant vice presidents, supporting structuring execution.

Katy Briger also recently joined as a director and senior credit officer.

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