Richard Johns

The Structured Finance Industry Group’s first executive director comes from the ranks of an issuer.

The trade group said today it named Richard Johns, a managing director and head of global funding and liquidity at Ally Financial.

SFIG also said that its 18 person interim board of directors has begun to select formal board members. The process is expected to be completed by mid-year. Members who joined SFIG prior to April 30, 2013 will be deemed "founding members" and will be eligible for consideration for board membership as well as committee chairs.

Johns, 45, will report to SFIG's board, currently chaired by Reggie Imamura. The  new managing director has more than 16 years of experience in the securitization industry. Prior to joining Ally Financial in 2010, Johns worked at Capital One Financial as the head of global capital markets and MBNA (now Bank of America) in the corporate finance sector.

“Throughout his career he has led advocacy programs related to major legislative initiatives and has worked closely with major regulatory bodies including the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and Federal Reserve,” the trade group said in a press release.

Johns spoke with ASR and said that where SFIG adds value is that the group understands that increased regulatory and legislative scrutiny is here to stay and while these regulations are crafted, the group will be able to bring to the table a “consensus position from across the whole industry.”  

Imamura said that core to SFIG’s mission is that the group is representative of the broad membership of “all major parties that are critical to the securitization industry.”

“The starting platform is of course that securitization is a core funding source for the real economy and all parts of the markets different constituencies are critical to be representative, preserved and maintained to keep securitization as a funding source; investors are clearly a critical part of our community,” he said.

SFIG at this point has 11 investor members, 125 members total and the group continues to have a dialogue with firms interested in becoming potential members -- that includes investors and other types of firms, active and critical to securitization.

“The members that have joined our organization plan to be a very engaged  part of the ‘voice’ of this memebership base – and it’s a broad representation of the key players of the industry,” said Imamura. “We will serve our members and if we are successful all the key issues that are important to the most significant players will be served.”

SFIG also announced that it will be headquartered in Washington D.C. with plans to maintain a strong presence in New York.  The Group is currently looking to hire additional staff, including a Director of Advocacy.

The group was formed in March by members splitting from another trade group, the American Securitization Forum. SFIG has already stepped into some of the ongoing regulatory developments, both in the US and globally.

Imamura said that the group, for example, has been invited to speak at the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s ratings agency reform roundtable next week.

Other advocacy work the group has already engaged in, for issuer representation, is that the group attended a meeting in London hosted by the Basel’s committee working group on revisions to the securitization methodology framework. There are also a host of reform initiatives and data standards and loan level information standards around mortgage reform that Imamura said the group is very active in.





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