Morgan Stanley Dean Witter is establishing a securitization research presence in London, sensing that the stakes are rising to establish a foothold in the European mortgage-backed market - one of the best hopes for growth in what could be a series of down years for debt.

Longtime asset-backed securities research head Charles "Chip" Schorin has recently assembled a four-person team to run the new London division, and may expand the operation further in the next year, he said. Also, given that Asia is now showing early signs of growth in the securitization markets, it is likely that Morgan Stanley will open up an ABS/MBS research branch in the Pacific Rim at some point in the future.

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