The Latin American wing of structured finance ratings at Moody's Investors Service has picked up three hires since November, two in New York and one in Sao Paulo.

Victoria Moreno returned to the agency as an assistant vice president following an interim, two-year stint at Banco Santander, where she originated and structured transactions in Mexico, Brazil and Chile. Based in New York, her focus will be cross-border and future-flow deals. Recent hire Tony Kim will have the same focus, but he will eventually branch out into domestic Latin American transactions as well. Based in New York, Kim arrived from Merrill Lynch, where he covered the media and telecom sectors as an equity analyst. His post is associate analyst. The New York hires replace Susan Knapp, who was promoted to team manager in October, and Tiziana DiTullio, who left at mid-year to pursue photography. The team numbers seven.

Lastly, Roberto Watanabe joined the Sao Paulo office as an assistant vice president, hopping over from Wachovia Securities, where he focused on restructuring distressed U.S. and Latin American loans, apart from work on loan syndications, securitizations, and mergers and acquisitions. His position was created to capitalize on opportunities in the domestic structured finance market.

Indeed, the Brazilian domestic market has picked up sharply over the last eight months. Receivables investment funds (FIDCs) in particular have mushroomed, but the market share among the three international agencies is deeply skewed, with Fitch Atlantic Rating taking the lion's share of publicly rated deals. Local unaffiliated agencies SR Rating and Austin Rating are respectable competitors as well. Moody's new post in Sao Paulo no doubt represents a move to take a bigger piece of the growing pie.

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