Dean Christiansen resigned as president of SPE administrator Lord Securities Corp. last week. He had been with the firm since 2000. Peter Sorensen, Lord's principal owner, will reassume the role of president, with senior vice president and CFO Benjamin Abedine assuming operational responsibilities of the company. Additionally, Vice President Orlando Figueroa takes over the company's new business development, and continues as Lord's senior officer overseeing all corporate governance activities, including transaction underwriting and offshore domicile assignments.
Christina Saber recently jumped to law firm Schulte Roth & Zabel from Mayer, Brown Rowe & Maw. In her new position, Saber will work in the firm's CDO business, with a focus on collateralized fund obligations and synthetics. She will report to Paul Watterson, a partner with the firm.
Adam Djanogly has been promoted to managing director and head of European capital markets for Fitch Ratings. Djanogly had previously run the European structured finance marketing effort at the debt tracker. He had previously worked at Barclays Capital and Industrial Bank of Japan.
Chase Manhattan Bank is currently structuring a de-linked credit card master note trust, according to sources close to the situation. While still in the planning stages, the yet to be named shelf is scheduled to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission later this year, with early 2004 slated for the inaugural issue.
Published reports said that shareholders of Clayton Homes Inc. narrowly approved the MH firm's planned $1.7 billion sale to Berkshire Hathaway Inc. despite attempts by investors to block the deal. Berkshire agreed to buy Clayton on April 1. Although the price was a 12% premium to Clayton's recent stock price, many large investors stated that it undervalued the company. The deal should be completed in the next few days, Clayton said last Thursday. Through this merger, Clayton would become a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire.
Looks like Goldman Sachs Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities unit is ready to finalize its play on the European markets. Market reports last week indicated that the commercial real estate lender would make its bid to conquer the European markets with a sizeable financing package for a mixed portfolio that includes 12 properties. According to published reports, the CMBS division plans to securitize its lending in the U.K. and Europe a la GMAC style. GMAC in the past years has successfully launched a number of securitization deals throughout Europe.
The Metris Companies had the ratings for $3.6 billion of its credit card ABS cut two notches by Fitch Ratings, due to increased losses and decreased excess spread. Gross losses are averaging 21.26% YTD and three-month excess spread currently averages 1.93%. Delinquencies, while remaining high, have stabilized, Fitch noted.
New York City was shopping a tax-lien ABS last week via Bear Stearns, sources said. The first tax-lien deal of the year for the fiscally restrained state was shopping four classes of notes, from triple-A to triple-B.
Fitch sent a list of undisclosed requests to troubled student lender Academic Management Services (AMS) and parent company UICI. Fitch indicated that its requests need to be addressed before the debt tracker removes the unwrapped student loan securitizations from watch for a downgrade. Rival Standard & Poor's, meanwhile, is continuing to monitor the situation and has met with UICI officials, but has not made any formal requests, a source said.
Barclays Capital has introduced a new monthly research product, named Barclays Retail Auto ABS Tracker, or BRAAT, which was released for the first time last week. Undertaken by recent addition Joe Astorina, BRAAT looks at 201 prime auto ABS, from 32 different issuers, totaling $282 billion in original face value. Pairing the list down by issuance volume, BRAAT looks more closely at the 11 largest issuers creating a 55-transaction index, with an aggregate balance of roughly $55 billion.
The American Securitization Forum announced that its Executive Committee had approved a set of standards and practices for ABS syndicate process and it will soon accept feedback from market participants on its recommendations. Although the standards have yet to be published, the Forum expects to do so shortly. The standards will focus on five aspects of the syndicate pricing process - announcement, guidance, status, launch and, of course, pricing.