Showing signs of life, it appears Morgan Stanley is looking to reinitiate its ex-Japan Asia franchise. According to chatter in Hong Kong, the bank is seeking to hire someone in the SAR, having previously run its operations out of its Tokyo office.

Morgan Stanley has not completed a deal in ex-Japan Asia since the US$299.6 million offering for Korea's Samsung Life in late 2002 - the country's first cross-border MBS.

In Singapore, one week after securing a S$370 million CMBS (US$215 million) mandate for CapitaMall Trust - the REIT spinoff of CapitaLand - HSBC Securities is being heard with a securitization of small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) based in the Lion City. Although a banker at HSBC would not comment, rival bankers told ASR last week that HSBC is working with SPRING, the Singaporean SME agency, on warehousing the loans prior to securitization at a later date. Reportedly, HSBC is awaiting approval from the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

In Japan, two institutions are readying RMBS deals. Chuo Mitsui Trust and Banking will soon launch its second MBS deal, worth 110 billion (US$1 billion), through the Chuo Mitsui Residential Mortgage Loan Receivables Trust. The single-tranche deal, rated Aaa' by Moody's Investment Services, is arranged by Daiwa Securities, has a legal final of 2039 and is expected to close on June 28.

Meanwhile, Mizuho Bank, Japan's largest banking institution, will launch its debut MBS deal, worth 297.6 billion (US$2.6 billion). The self-arranged transaction features 254.8 billion of floating-rate notes and 30 billion of fixed-rate trust certificates, both of which are rated Aaa' by Moody's. The deal is expected to close on June 29 and has a legal final of 2037.

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