oody's Investors Service added two to its asset-backed commercial paper group. Tom Rizzo joins as an analyst and assistant vice president, focusing on quantitative and arbitrage related programs. Rizzo came over from the former Duff & Phelps (and subsequently from Fitch) where he worked in catastrophe bonds and other insurance-related structured products.

Moody's has also hired Karen Cook as an associate analyst, from the trust services group at Bankers Trust (Deutsche Bank), where she had been for three years. Both new hires started on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, a few weeks back, Moody's lost Rupert Chisholm to Lehman Brothers.


Bear, Stearns & Co. amended an S-3 filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission last week, clearing space for $3.9 billion in issuance of residential mortgage asset-backed securities.


Artisan Entertainment, most recently known for The Blair Witch Project, is launching a $150 million film receivables securitization, based on the revenue from a significant portion of the studio's 6,000 film and television show library. The five-year deal, managed by Chase Securities, is part of a reworking of an existing credit facility.

In response to the changing face of the franchise loan securitization sector - which is increasingly more inclusive - Moody's has released a commentary on its evolved methodology for analyzing credit risk on the deals.

Also, Moody's has put the Heilig Meyers MT 1998-1 and 1998-2 on review for a downgrade. In late August, early amortization triggers were hit following a voluntary bankruptcy by the company.

Citigroup's pending acquisition of Associates First Capital is likely to have a positive, if any, effect on Associates' outstanding paper and new issues. According to the research team at Bank of America Securities, spreads on deals from Copelco (which Citigroup acquired earlier in the year) benefited from the acquisition; however, Associates' paper already trades on the tighter end of the spectrum.

There's no word yet as to how the merger will affect Associate's deal program going forward.

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