Information Management Network has rescheduled its ABS West 2004 conference to Feb. 2-5, moving the event up by two days. The ninth annual event is still set for its new venue, the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix, Arizona. The conference will now start just four days after the American Securitization Forum completes its first-ever ASF Winter Conference, and coincidentally, the day after Super Bowl XXXVIII.

Norddeutsche Landesbank is starting a search for a vice president to join its Asset Backed Finance group on Jan. 1, 2004. The firm is looking for an experienced transactor to work on origination, structuring and documentation of transactions for Nord's asset backed commercial paper conduit Hannover Funding Co. Hannover now has assets of about $2.6 billion. A significant expansion is planned for 2004. The person hired would report to group head Omar Bolli and would work closely with Ed Weber, another vice president with similar responsibilities to the new hire.

Banc of America Securities has further restructured its Global Asset Securitization group, dividing structured finance and residential mortgage operations into separate groups (see story, p. 4). This follows the creation of the Debt Operating Committee, headed by Pat Augustine earlier in the year.

Barclays Capital has hired Henry Cooke as director in the European Infrastructure Finance and Corporate Securitization group, reporting to Robert Palache, based in London. Cooke joins from Marsh & McLennan, where he was head of European Structured Products. Prior to his time at Marsh & McLennan, Cooke was co-head of European Securitization at Nomura International.

Deutsche Bank has added Gregg Patruno in its mortgage research team, as director responsible for U.S. MBS modeling. He reports to Alec Crawford, head of mortgage and cross-rates research at DBSI. Patruno - who prior to his appointment at DBSI spent 10 years at Goldman Sachs - has more than 15 years of experience as a fixed-income modeler and quantitative analyst. Before his stint at Goldman, he spent five years at First Boston. From 1994 to 2000, Patruno specialized in mortgage prepayment analysis.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. is expected to cut roughly 225 of the 525-employee workforce based in the Chicago offices of Bank One Corp.'s corporate trust operations, following the close of its acquisition later this month, according to published reports. The $720 million purchase, announced earlier this year, creates some redundancy, and as a result JPMorgan Chase is expected to keep 300 employees whose responsibilities are primarily client-focused.

AmeriCredit Corp. paid $100,000 to settle its insider trading allegations with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company announced last week. Asserting that it cooperated fully with the SEC, AmeriCredit added that it had instituted tighter restrictions for employees trading its stock. The SEC alleged that five unnamed employees traded the company's stock prior to the release of 2001 year-end financial results, reported the American Banker.

A vote by the House Financial Services Committee originally scheduled for Oct. 1 regarding a bill to form a new GSE regulator was postponed to Oct. 8. The House committee needs more time to review several controversial issues such as how independent the regulator should be from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Last Monday, the Treasury submitted a legislative proposal saying the new regulator should be a unit of the Treasury.

In related news, Fannie Mae is now opposing the Bush administration's proposal to consolidate supervision and product approval under a new government-sponsored enterprise regulator that would be part of the Treasury Department. Fannie is now advocating keeping the regulatory power to approve new GSE products in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The Commercial Mortgage Securities Association (CMSA) said last week that it has started developing a CMSA Investor Reporting Package (IRP) for European commercial real estate capital markets. This move is a response to pressure from European CMBS buysiders for more reporting standardization.

Fitch Ratings last week released its annual U.S. structured finance rating migration study. This study tracks rating activity for structured finance bonds starting Jan. 1, 1991 and ending Dec. 31, 2002, particularly emphasizing 2002, which is to date the most volatile year for structured finance both on the upside and the downside. The study contains a comprehensive review of upgrades/downgrades by rating category for each of the main structured finance subsectors, including ABS, RMBS, CMBS and CDOs.

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