Long-time Wall Street veteran Kevin Finnerty, who joined Freddie Mac in February as senior vice president of investor and dealer services, only to leave the GSE five months later, has been hired as managing director and head of residential mortgage securities at Chase Manhattan Corp., effective Dec. 1.
According to a source close to Chase, Finnerty will be working within the company's U.S. securities division, reporting to John Steinhardt, the head of U.S. securities at the bank.
Prior to Finnerty's hire, Stephen Kirch was head of residential mortgage securities at Chase, as well as the national sales manager for the department. With Finnerty on board, Kirch will now be able to give greater attention to his sales manager duties, the source said.
The hire marks Finnerty's return to Wall Street after a brief stint at Freddie Mac earlier this year. At the time, sources familiar with Finnerty's move said the MBS veteran was hired after a bidding war among a number of Wall Street firms for his services. Sources also said that the hire at the agency might have signaled a more aggressive move by Freddie Mac as a competitor for top Wall Street mortgage securitization talent.
"Freddie Mac is being more aggressive, Finnerty is an extremely high profile person," said Chuck Ramsey, CEO of Mortgage Risk Assessment Corp. last January.
However, Finnerty's move down the eastern seaboard to Freddie Mac's McLean, Va., headquarters was not meant to be. He suddenly announced his departure from the government-sponsored enterprise in June, without much of an explanation to the press. At the time, Freddie Mac had no comment.
"They do things differently at the agencies than they do on Wall Street," suggested a source close to Finnerty. "Everything moves slower down there, and I do not think Kevin was happy with it, or with living in Washington."
Prior to working at Freddie Mac, Finnerty had been managing director and head of mortgage trading, sales and research for UBS Securities before leaving the company in late 1998.
Before working at UBS, Finnerty was a managing director and head of trading at Bear, Stearns & Co. for nearly 10 years starting in the 1980s. He also held positions at Merrill Lynch & Co. and Dean Witter. Sources said that while at UBS, he helped lure nearly three dozen MBS pros, including many former co-workers, to the bank.
According to Ramsey, while it is important to have staff to structure collateralized mortgage obligations and other MBS structures, it is more important to have long-standing relationships with MBS investors, something he said is often overlooked.
"By knowing what investors want, and how they think, it is a big plus," he said, adding that veterans such as Finnerty can have relationships with as many as 3,000 accounts. "This is a guy that ran the MBS market."
Finnerty could not be reached for comment by press time.
In other high-profile MBS moves this week, Credit Suisse First Boston has reached an agreement for Andrew Stone's departure from the bank, after several months of speculation (MBSL 10/18/99).
CSFB and Stone "have mutually agreed that he will relinquish his responsibilities and leave the firm, effective (Monday)," the company said in a statement. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
Stone had expressed a desire to leave the company since it cut back on its CMBS business last year.