Freddie Mac last week announced the lead underwriters for its inaugural Reference REMIC security offering (see ASR 4/4/05). Lehman Brothers, Morgan Stanley and UBS are the lead underwriters for Reference REMIC series R001, which is expected to have a 4.75% coupon and will be backed by two 15-year 5.0% PC pools. The initial transaction's guaranteed final maturity will be April 15,2015.

Many Street analysts welcomed the event. "The Freddie Mac Reference REMICs are a welcome addition to the market," UBS MBS analysts said. "From the mortgage market's point of view, a liquid CMO benchmark is a very good thing, as it will facilitate trading in these issues, plus it could serve as a benchmark for other CMOs."

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