Amherst Holdings is planning a new distressed mortgage asset management group, according to a Reuters report.

Two ex-Fannie Mae employees will lead the new group that reportedly is intended to provide the building blocks for a revival of the private-label securitization market. This month the company also registered an RMBS Strategic Recovery fund with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Reuters said.

The group will be led by David Gussmann, according to the report, with Amherst Chief Risk Officer Ramon de Castro joining him.

Both Gussmann and de Castro were previously with Fannie Mae. Gussmann was the GSE’s vice president in enterprise risk management in capital markets. His team was responsible for around $60 billion in non-agency RMBS and about $25 billion of CMBS.

Gussmann's team also developed and employed analytics valuing non-agency RMBS and CMBS  while measuring the servicing effectiveness of non-agency RMBS servicers. His group also focused on loss mitigation strategies for the non-agency RMBS portfolio.

Prior to Fannie Mae, Gussmann was an executive committee member and senior vice president in product development and operations at LoanPerformance, which was eventually sold to First American.

Meanwhile, Amherst announced de castro's hiring as chief risk officer in March 2009. He was hired to help lead the firm's ongoing expansion into RMBS and growth into new securitization products.

As chief risk officer, his primary focus is to manage the day-to-day risks encountered by Amherst Securities while conducting its business. He also focuses o credit and fraud risk management.

Prior to Amherst, de Castro spent 18 years at Fannie Mae, where he most recently worked as senior vice president of capital markets. For this position, he led the trading and investment activity of all mortgage assets for the GSE's retained portfolio such as asset selection, relative value and risk analysis, trade execution, and coordination of hedges in the agency and derivatives markets.

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