In the mid-1980’s to the early 1990’s, Tom Capasse and Jack Ross worked together at Merrill Lynch; the duo handled and initiated some of the earliest investment transactions that helped to establish the securitization market. More importantly, the asset-backed securities (ABS) “pioneers” linked up to create the financial services and management conglomerate’s ABS Group.
Years later, Ross proved to create his own specialty broker/dealer Licent Capital and Capasse spent some time managing principal financial groups at Macquarie Securities. Despite these personal achievements, the securitization market team coupled again in late 2004. “Jack called me up and said there was an opportunity,” Capasse said in an interview last month. That opportunity was their joint venture Waterfall Asset Management (WAM). After talking to a number of seeding firms, they connected with M.D. Sass, which now as an affiliate of the New York-based investment management firm, WAM offers high yield ABS strategies. At its birth in 2005, WAM partnered with M.D. Sass to offer its first opportunistic ABS distressed hedge fund, the “Waterfall Eden Fund,” which targeted residential mortgage, home equity ABS and other similar strategies.