Harris Nesbitt, a unit of the Bank of Montreal, intends to bulk up its presence in the term ABS market with its acquisition of a six-person asset finance team from competitor RBC Dain Rauscher.

Harris Nesbitt Head of U.S. Securitization Jeff Phillips said that the new group, led by Managing Director Tom Gervais, has a focus on non-commodity asset types such as reperforming mortgages, in line with BMO's current market focus. However, Gervais' experience in private placements, and in the term market in general, will expand the group's scope.

"The market focus is the same, but we had generally funded through the ABCP market via our multi-seller conduit," Phillips said. "We never really had a term ABS origination and structuring function."

Gervais was joined by Dave Piotrowski, Mark Freeman, Ravi Gupta, Jason Micheletto and Bonnie Broyles. Contrary to our Whispers column last week, Matthew DiCicco and Jack MacDowell remain at RBC, with DiCicco taking over as Managing Director.

RBC Director of Fixed Income Banking Chris Hamel said that the securitization group would be looking to fill some of the vacancies in coming months, particularly in the area of equipment leasing.

"We do plan on adding to the ABS group, broadly speaking, but we were planning on doing that before the Gervais group left, " he said.

RBC's acquisition of William R. Hough & Co. late last year, which makes them one of the top U.S. securitizers of student loans, will help fill the gaps. Robb Hough, president and CEO of William Hough, will take over as head of structured finance at RBC when the deal closes in February, Hamel said.

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