Korea First Bankhas selected BNP Paribas, Calyon and Royal Bank of Scotland -- three supposedly less-established firms in the region -- as joint underwriters for its third cross-border mortgage-backed deal, a $500 million transaction.


The involvement of RBS came as a surprise to bankers at rival houses, some of who were unaware the bank was even pitching. In total, 16 banks ended up bidding, sources said, rather than the 12 reported previously (see ASR 9/20/04).


Since Razi Amin and his team have been slowly but surely been building up an Asian ABS franchise in the past few years, BNP's inclusion was not altogether unexpected. But Greg Park, who recently left Credit Suisse First Boston to head Calyon's non-Japan Asia securitization group, (see ASR 6/14/04) and Richard Lamb, who fulfils the same role at RBS, will be especially pleased to advise on such a high profile Korean mandate.


Lamb left ING for RBS in March 2003, following his boss John Mullins to set up a new Tokyo-based Asian securitization group focused on Japan, Korea and Australia. Given testy market conditions last year, progress was initially slow but has gathered momentum in 2004.


RBS recently established a A$5 billion ($3.5 billion) asset-backed commercial paper conduit - George Street Finance - in Australia, making it one of the country's largest ABCP sponsors. The bank also led an A$2.3 billion multi-currency MBS for Interstar Millennium.


When ING pulled out of the Japanese securitization market, RBS took over its business and says it is working on several transactions. Meanwhile, although KFB is believed to be RBS' first Korean securitization mandate, behind the scenes the bank has established warehousing facilities for issuers. These include a $100 million loan for Samsung Card, a regular cross-border issuer in 2001 and 2002 and client of Lamb's while at ING. 


RBS is also looking to establish a representative office in Seoul before the end of the year.


KFBcompleted its first international MBS in April, a $499.6 million deal via UBS (see ASR 4/5/04), and followed up in August with a $325 million private placement, structured and purchased by Merrill Lynch.

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