In an attempt to beef up its European securitization business, Tokyo-Mitsubishi International (TMI) - a subsidiary of Japanese giant Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi (BTM) - has taken advantage of the ABS market's game of musical chairs, hiring Joe Smallman as a director and David Moore as an associate director.

Smallman joins TMI from Vining Sparks Europe, where he as a managing director. Moore joins TMI's ABS operations from Commerzbank in London, where he was also an associate director.

Moore's capture makes him the third recruit from Commerzbank, following the arrivals of Eric Youngblood - who was head of ABS at Commerzbank - and Eike Neuman. Youngblood will be a director at TMI with Smallman. Other additions include Charles Simond and Szabolcs Gordos both from ING Barings.

All the new recruits will report to Stafford Butt, group head of ABS at TMI. Butt said that no new additions were imminent, though he expected more in the not too distant future, and was confident of what the newly established group could achieve.

"In terms of the team, we have the numbers that we initially looked to put in place and any further additions won't happen until late this year, early next year," he said. "What we're trying to put in place is the ability to provide all asset-backed products to our clients, both of TMI and BPM. We have got asset-backed commercial paper capability, as well as the longer-term securities."

Butt added that TMI also has an active trading book to adequately participate in the secondary market. "Additional to that we're running a number of investment books so we are an active investor - we're sweeping the whole board," he said. "Through BTM we can also offer access to balance sheets which enables us to provide warehouse facilities where required."

The next few months could be a busy time for the new team, Butt said. "We've just been joint bookrunners on Iberbond 2000 and we've got three mandates underway that we've been awarded," he said. "The deals fall within our geographic focus: Europe, the Middle East and Africa. We may possibly see one or two of those by the end of this year, the other in the first quarter 2001. Behind that, a pipeline of deals that we expect to win, or have pitches out there for, looks very good as well."

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