Standard Bank is craving more Latin American action. The South African bank has recently poached Christian Corcino from Moody's Investors Service and Erick Hernandez from Deutsche Bank to beef up its Latin American capital markets group in New York.

Corcino spent five years at Moody's as a New York-based analyst of Latin American structured finance. Prior to his tenure at the agency, he was an analyst of fixed income and equity mutual funds at Value Line. Hernandez was a vice president in the securitized product group at Deutsche's Mexican office, which he joined from Bancomer in 2001. Hernandez's hire is a sure sign that Standard now aims to enter Mexico's domestic market, where, so far, it has been absent from a boom in ABS and MBS.

Jay Tom, who's been helming Latin American primary markets at Standard Bank in New York since the year started, said the bank will indeed be targeting an array of assets in Mexico, and potentially other domestic markets in the region. The exception is Brazil, where a locally based team is responsible for drumming up domestic deals in the structured finance business.

Outside the domestic-currency landscape, Standard Bank will continue to build its business in the cross-border terrain, where it has already arranged deals backed by Brazilian future flows. As with other arrangers, that business has slowed to a crawl for Standard, having lost out to the cheaper funding alternatives that Brazilian originators have been enjoying lately. But the tide might be turning. "If the market remains volatile they might need to securitize," Tom said. He added that, even if conditions hold, other opportunities might exist on the cross-border front, such as local currency denominated deals issued offshore or transactions that don't hit investment grade, as future flow transactions routinely do.

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