Veteran commercial mortgage backed securities analyst Darrell Wheeler joined Standard & Poor’s this week as head of research for global structured finance, a person at the company confirmed.

Wheeler replaces Howard Esaki, who retired from the rating agency at the end of March.

He joins S&P from Amherst Securities Group, where he was a senior managing director and head of CMBS strategy since 2010. At Amherst he helped launch the company’s entrance into CMBS.

Wheeler has worked in CMBS for more than 20 years. Prior to Amherst, he served as managing director within Citigroup’s global corporate and investment bank, and as global head of securitized strategy and analysis.

Wheeler joins the rating agency during a one-year ban from rating commercial mortgage bond conduits.

The suspension is part of a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the attorney generals of New York and Massachusetts. It relates to over $1.5 billion of commercial mortgage bonds that S&P rated in early 2011.  

S&P pulled the ratings a few months later, citing potential problems with its models. This caused market disruption, prompting an investigation by the SEC and the two attorney generals; they discovered that S&P had departed from its published criteria and went with assumptions that were less conservative than advertised.

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