Citigroup recently moved John Dahl from its New York syndicate operations to its Hong Kong offices, where he will run the Global Securitized Markets operations for the Asia Pacific region. This includes Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India but not Japan, which is run by a separate group. Dahl was promoted to director, reporting to Jeremy Amias, head of Asia Pacific fixed income and U.S. ABS co-heads, Rob Malin and Ted Yarborough. Meanwhile, Amanda Magiaro has joined Citi's syndicate desk from the associate training program. She will be working with long-time Citi ABS syndicate veteran, Ish McLaughlin.

Sharon McGarvey has joined Merrill Lynch as a director in the firm's research strategy group, reporting to managing director Dan Castro. McGarver, formerly a portfolio manager at West LB, will focus on CDOs. Prior to her three-year stint at WestLB, McGarver worked at Met Life for nine years. She fills the void left by Joshua Anderson, who jumped to PIMCO in February (see ASR 2/24/03).

Barclays Capital has named Francesco de Bartolo director and head of securitization for Italy, reporting to managing directors Robert Palache and Allen Appen. Based in London, his responsibilities will focus on asset-backed products for Italian clients. He will be working closely with Stefano Giacomino. De Bartolo was previously with JPMorgan Securities, where he was a senior transactor in principal and structured finance.

Edward De Sear, formerly chairman of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe's structured finance group, joined McKee Nelson's New York office last Monday, according to officials at McKee. Though De Sear's background in securitization is vast and includes vanilla assets such as credit cards, he also brings an expertise in esoteric assets, like structured settlements. De Sear's hire is the latest of several high profile acquisitions for the law firm, the largest of which took place almost a year ago when McKee launched its New York headquarters, poaching a few seniors from Strook & Strook & Lavan. McKee was founded in 1999 as an independent law practice allied with accounting powerhouse Ernst & Young.

Nissan Motor Credit Co. is planning its first-ever wholesale dealer floorplan ABS for later this year, according to sources close to the situation. Morgan Stanley is currently working on setting up a warehousing facility, and a term transaction is scheduled for the second half of the year, sources said.

Solicitation materials seeking bondholder approval to amend the Chase Credit Card Master Trust 1996-2, 1996-3 and 1999-3 credit card securitizations to allow a pooling of excess spread are scheduled to be mailed by Proxy Agent Mellon Investor Services LLC on May 23. "If enacted, the Base Rate Pay Out Event would be calculated using the Portfolio Supplemented Yield which would include the Portfolio Yield plus a specified amount of shared excess finance charges," according to JPMorgan Securities research. At least 50% of note holders must approve the amendment (see related story, p 1).

FM Policy Focus, formerly FM Watch, has asked the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to stop a Fannie Mae pilot program Payment Power, saying that the new product creates a "new loan obligation" between the consumer and Fannie. In a teleconference held last Tuesday, FMPF new chairman J.C. Watts initially called the mortgage a "new loan owed to Fannie," but backed off the assertion that this obligation is a new loan afterwards. The new product allows borrowers to skip 10 payments over the life of the loan through an upfront fee. FMPF also criticized the GSE for not getting HUD's approval for this program. In a statement, Fannie Senior Vice President Chuck Greener said it is "startling that FM Watch would choose to attack an initiative that allows more Americans to get into their homes and stay in those homes."

The annual default rate of conduit loans in CMBS transactions rated by Fitch Ratings was 0.72% in 2002, stated the latest conduit loan study published by the rating agency. Furthermore, the default rate is expected to rise to only 0.9% by the end of this year.

The study said a total of 311 new loans experienced defaults in 2002. This brings the total number of defaults since 1993 to 807. The rating agency estimates that the cumulative default rate, which is currently at 2.66%, will rise to 3.75% in 2003.The total dollar balance of defaults has gone up to $7.6 billion from the current $4.7 billion.

Deutsche Bank, as well as its underwriting unit, Deutsche Bank Securities, is currently in the process of moving offices to 60 Wall St. from its 52nd St. and 6th Ave location. Along with the move will be a change in phone numbers. The new general number is (212) 250-8000.

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