Looking to add a term component to its conduit business, the New York arm of Westdeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale (West LB) hired seven asset-backed pros from Rothschild, Inc., last week. Rothchild is known for its presence in private ABS.

Starting today, group head Rick Fingeret moves over as a managing director, reporting to Paul Edwards, who heads up West LB's New York asset securitization group. Fingeret had been with Rothschild for five years, and prior to that was at Chevy Chase Bank, focusing on credit card ABS.

Dee Dee Sklar, who had been with Rothschild for six years, joined West LB as an executive director.

Prior to Rothschild, Sklar was at an ABS boutique called Bickford & Partners, which was dissolved when Jewelle Bickford moved over to Rothschild in 1994. Bickford still runs the Global ABS team at Rothschild, which is in the process of hiring replacements, following last Monday's defection (see below).

Also from Rothschild, Jeffrey Kramer and Brian Statfeld are joining West LB as directors. Before Rothschild, Statfeld was at Standard & Poor's Ratings Service, while Kramer was at Nomura Securities for a short time, following a nine-year stretch at Financial Security Assurance.

Jennifer Tarozzi and Henry Green join as associate directors, while Stanley Loo was brought on as a manager.

The group will initially focus on developing West LB's term efforts, likely through true private placements and Rule 144A ABS, sources at the company said. West LB's conduit business in the U.S. exceeds $20 billion.

Rothschild Readies Re-Org

Rothschild is already in negotiations with a replacement for Rick Fingeret, and expects to close the deal sometime this week, Bickford said.

"It's somebody that's very well known on the Street... we've made him an offer and he's ready to leave as quickly as is appropriate," she said.

The firm is looking to hire at least one more person by the end of November. Additionally, Steve Barry and David Cain, from Rothschild's London office, have flown to the U.S. to fill in until the team is rebuilt.

"This is really an opportunity for Rothschild, because we have been re-orienting our business to provide integrated financial services to our clients," Bickford said.

"So we're looking to hire people who have, what I would call, a more rounded skill set," she added. "The people who left were really very talented in asset-specific types of collateral, but we're looking for people who have a more rounded background."

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