A long-time veteran of asset- and mortgage-backed research, Peter DiMartino started as a managing director at RBS Greenwich Capital in January. Prior to his new position, he worked at Salomon Smith Barney for 14 years, where he was Director of Asset-Backed and Mortgage Credit He may be reached via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
ASR: What's the main difference between working at Greenwich and at a bulge-bracket firm?
DiMartino: RBSGC is different from the bulge-bracket firms because we are not trying to be all things to all people. RBSGC's business is client- and product-focused. That's why RBSGC presents such an excellent professional fit for me - because I have always been client-focused in my approach to research.
ASR: You will be working closely with the trading desk at Greenwich. Will your focus be more on new issuance, or secondary trading?
DiMartino: I am not focused on one or the other. I am focused on the most effective way to use research to help clients in a complex global marketplace. We can help clients better assess relative value, technicals and fundamentals in the product areas that RBSGC specializes in.
ASR: What are your goals for the research product at Greenwich?
DiMartino: Goals over next year are to build a body of research that is truly value-added, and not forced by a weekly publishing deadline. There are no frequency mandates for me at RBSGC. In the near-term I am focusing on helping as many investor clients as possible by working one-on-one with them to find solutions to a variety of complex ABS market issues, and providing useful research tools internally to lever the attributes of our capable distribution network. Internal and external research users are now receiving a broader view of the ABS market than before.
ASR: What is your outlook for that ABS market in 2003?
DiMartino: Many analysts have anticipated a strong start to the year, relative to last year's strong start because of the overhang of niche mortgage production. As of late February, HEL securities production is $10 billion ahead of the first two months of last year. This trend will remain. Student loans will be a star this year as well, while cards and autos run relatively flat to last year, given the level of necessary refinancings for cards. All in all, I foresee a marginal uptick for U.S. ABS supply in 2003. The majority of ABS production will be done as floaters, which appeals to many in the domestic and European ABS investor communities.
ASR: What is your outlook for triple-B home equity ABS?
DiMartino: I believe that triple-B home-equity spreads were and will be the widest in the first two months and the last two months of 2003. Investing in triple-Bs often requires a view, and my view is that investors are much more tentative about credit risk near year-end. In triple-B classes, I believe technicals have greater impact than fundamental value. In other words, the fundamental value may be there, but spreads may remain wider than suggested due to a lack of sponsorship.
ASR: Finally, people who know you, know you are a hockey fanatic, and specifically, a N.Y. Rangers fan. Will the Rangers make the playoffs? Who will win the Stanley Cup?
DiMartino: It's an even easier call to make now: the NY Rangers will not make the playoffs in 2003. A few weeks back, I was taking the other side of the trade all day when [Head Coach Glen] Sather made his inspirational guarantee for a playoff recovery. To make the Stanley Cup playoffs, which is without question the best tournament in all sports, the Rangers would have to string together about 10 straight wins - a fete that they haven't accomplished since the mid-90s. My prediction for 2003 cup winner: The Colorado Avalanche. Several teams are playing well now (especially the Canadian franchises: Ottawa and Vancouver), and the Wings are championship caliber again for sure, but the Avs are showing me the most heart...and that's who wins the Stanley Cup championship, the team with the biggest heart. It also exemplifies why the Rangers are not a playoff team.
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