ABS and MBS hedge fund Highland Financial Holdings Group recruited Sheila Huang as director and portfolio manager of the firm's high-grade strategies division. The move reflects, and continues be part of, ongoing efforts at Highland Financial to grow its personnel along with its business.

Huang was a director at Credit Suisse Asset Management, where she was a portfolio manager and was responsible for all of the firm's MBS selection and trading. She also helped manage its overall fixed income investment strategy.

At Highland Financial, where she started in early February, she makes investment decisions on the Highland Opportunity Fund, the firm's high-grade investment fund. Huang will work closely with Zachary Cooper, a managing director and senior portfolio manager, on the middle credit portion of the ABS and MBS capital structure, said Paul Ullman, CEO of Highland Financial Holdings. "Sheila's highly quantitative modeling skills will truly be an asset to our investment team and a valuable tool in our selection process," Ullman said.

Huang will report to Elias Katz, who co-founded Highland Financial with Ullman in 1998. Ullman and Katz both launched their careers in fixed income securities at the former Salomon Brothers.

The new hire's recruitment reflects ongoing growth at Highland Financial, and company officials expect to create at least seven more positions in 2007 for its investment and back office teams. In the past year, it added eight people to the firm, including Brad Groz, who was recruited in November to head its marketing efforts in Europe and the Middle East.

"We are beefing up our quantitative effort," Ullman said. "We are beefing up our technology effort, our back office ... marketing. We are adding talented people at every level of the firm."

Based in New York City, Highland Financial has more than $2 billion in assets under management, which is split almost evenly between CDOs and hedge fund assets. The firm completed its first CDO in January, a transaction amounting to about $1 billion. Investing primarily in MBS, the firm also participates in mortgage-related ABS and CMBS.

(c) 2007 Asset Securitization Report and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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