Mortgage ABS research analyst Arthur Chu, formerly at Lehman Brothers, has left to join QVT Fund, a hedge fund owned by Deutsche Bank, according to published reports. Chu will assume the new position of analyst and trader at the QVT, reporting to Daniel Gold, managing director and head of the fund. An award-winning analyst while at Lehman, Chu reported to Andrew Sparks, head of strategy for fixed-income markets at Lehman.

Sean Sheerin has resigned from Fitch Ratings, taking a position at The Clinton Group as director of research for structured finance, covering ABS, CMBS and RMBS. At Fitch, Sheerin was senior director and head of the new-assets group. Sheerin, with a vast background in ABS research, has previously worked at Moody's Investors Service, Standard & Poor's and Duff & Phelps. At Clinton, Sheerin joins former colleague Paul McCarthy, currently a trader, who had worked in the new assets group at Fitch before joining Clinton in 2001. Sheerin is scheduled to begin March 10.

Standard & Poor's stated last week that it will still rate structured finance deals that have mortgage loans originated under the just-passed New York City Local Law No. 36 (2002). The rating agency said that the NYC law is designed to achieve this goal without imposing penalties on passive investors in MBS. Therefore, S&P believes that the law does not create the kind of negative credit impact on MBS, unlike the kind that led the rating agency to be cautious about rating transactions that fall under the Georgia Fair Lending Act (GFLA).

Mexico's domestic securitization market is doing brisk business (see pgs. 1 and 22). That has drawn new players and revived the interest of former ones. The latest chatter to come out of Mexico City has U.S.-based boutique investment bank The Atlantic partnering up with Brazilian securitizer Hampton Solfise to pull together a peso-denominated trade receivables deal. The Atlantic's team is made up of bankers who cut their emerging-market teeth at Wasserstein Perella and were involved in the initial securitizations of some assets that would mature into staples of the industry in countries like Argentina and Mexico.

Meanwhile, rumors are bouncing around that MBIA is in talks to wrap a domestic toll-road securitization. Wrapping local Latin American deals raises interesting questions related to the fact that those transactions are rated on the national scale of each country, which is not comparable to the global scale. XLCA has done it in Chile for two toll road deals, El Bosque and Araucania. One advantage that some players have pointed out is that deals insured to a theoretical triple-A on the global currency would be protected from sovereign defaults, a fact that may have gained significance among Latin American, domestic investors in the wake of the Argentine default

First Republic Bank and its subsidiary, New York-based Trainer Wortham & Co., announced the completion of a $300 million CBO known as Trainer Wortham First Republic CBO III Ltd. The deal is First Republic's third CBO in two years, for a total of $1.15 billion outstanding. Though CBOs are primarily sold to institutional investors, the company structured the transaction to allow individual high-net worth investors of its private bank and its broker-dealer, First Republic Securities Company LLC, to purchase $13 million in preferred shares.

Jones Day Reavis & Pogue recently announced its merger with U.K. law firm Gouldens. The merger has resulted in a combined international law firm of more than 2000 lawyers, making it the 6th largest law firm in the world. Arriving at the combined firm's London office shortly after the merger is partner Alain Checri, formerly from Dewey Ballantine's securitization group. Checri previously had been with Clifford Chance. Checri will spearhead securitization efforts along with Martin Bartlam out of London, while Philippe Billot and Ed Nalbantian are Jones Day's structured finance pros in Paris.

A majority of note holders voted to replace Triton Partners as the manager of Triton CDO Opportunities I, the firm's CDO of CDOs underwritten by Morgan Stanley. Zais Group, LLC., the manager of five CDOs of CDOs, will take over the deal sometime after May 14, 2003. The wait is due to the governing documents stipulating a three-month period after the vote is approved until the new collateral manager can take over. A letter has been sent out from the trustee notifying all parties involved.

Ginnie Mae II supply has been only at about $3.5 billion a month in fixed-rate issuance, or 30% of the Ginnie I issuance, said JPMorgan Securities. That is a sharp decline from earlier in 2002, when GNMA II issuance was over 50% of Ginnie Is.

Existing home sales soared to a new monthly record in January as home prices continued to exhibit strong gains reported the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Existing home sales went up to 3% in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.09 million units from an upwardly revised level of 5.91 million in December. Last month's sales figures was 2.2% more than the previous record high of 5.95 million units in January 2002.

Copyright 2003 Thomson Media Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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