Robert R. Malin, the co-head of Citigroup Global Market's U.S. asset-backed securities business died Friday, June 23. Malin, who passed while on vacation with his family in Rome, was 46.

With more than 20 years in the asset securitization business, Malin was most distinguished for contributing to the development of the credit card ABS sector. Market professionals credit Malin with spearheading the development of the Master-Owned Trust and De-linked credit card securitization structures, which have become the standard issuance templates for the market.

Malin joined Salomon Brothers in 1996, and stayed on after Travelers Group purchased it for $9 billion in 1997, and became Citigroup in 1998. Two years later, he was promoted to managing director, and was named as co-head of the U.S. ABS group, in 2002, serving along with Ted Yarbrough. He continued to make his mark after that. He played a major role in the purchase of the former Sears, Roebuck & Co.'s private label credit card portfolio in January 2004, which gave the retailer a $2.75 billion profit. He also assisted the investment banking divisions with its credit-card related merger and acquisition and advisory work. Over the last couple of years, Malin contributed significantly to building out Citigroup's principal finance efforts and developing initiatives in new securitization asset classes, including e-commerce and intellectual property. Yarbrough will continue as head of the U.S. ABS group, according to the company.

"We are deeply saddened by this loss," said Citigroup's head of capital markets public relations Danielle Romero-Apsilos. "Bob was a great friend and colleague and will be missed personally and professionally."

Malin's passing saddened the entire asset securitization market this week, which absorbed the news slowly. Although Citigroup could not confirm the circumstances surrounding Malin's death, several sources said that Malin suffered a cardiac episode while out jogging with a friend in Italy. As many absorbed the news slowly, others remembered Malin as kind and gregarious, a person whom others went out of their way to meet at a crowded gathering.

"He brought a lot of credibility to the investment banking business," said one professional. "He did make a tremendous impact."

A wife and three children survive Malin. Arrangements were not finalized at press time. 

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