If market talk is any indication, J.P. Morgan came away with the upper hand in the structured-finance hierarchy following its merger with Chase Manhattan Corp.

Though it could not be confirmed, multiple sources said that John Rhinelander, who formerly ran J.P. Morgan's conduit operation, will head up the new entity's domestic term ABS effort. Officials at J.P. Morgan did not return phone calls as of press time last Tuesday.

Further up the ladder, John Steinhardt, formerly head of Chase's U.S. securities effort, and Don McCree, from Chase's European office, will co-head the North American Credit Markets Group,' of which ABS is a part.

The two will share responsibility with J.P Morgan's William Demchak, who will head up the Structured Finance Group.'

Within the North American Credit Markets Group,' Michael Malter, formerly the managing director and head of global securitized finance, will be running High Grade Capital Markets and Asset-Backed Securities Group.'

Also, reporting to Demchak, Blythe Masters will be running the derivatives and collateralized debt obligation group, sources said, which, from Chase's end, was previously occupied by Frank Ronin, who joined the firm from Merrill Lynch last spring. No further details were available.

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