The American Securitization Forum expects more than 1,000 attendees for its inaugural ASF 2004 ABS Summit in Scottsdale, Arizona this week. This tops the goal of 750 the ASF had initially hoped would attend.

ABS strategist Anne Kari is no longer with the research group at Citigroup Global Markets, sources said. There is no word as to where Kari, who had been with Citi for approximately two years, will resurface. The research group now consists of director Ivan Gjaja, Mary Kane and James Wang.

RBS Greenwich Capital recently hired Jason Golush as a senior vice president in its CDO group, reporting to managing director Fred Matera (see related story, p. 14). Golush, working closely with CDO trading and syndicate head Bruce Steinberg, will be responsible for structured product trading pertaining to CDO and CLO products.

Barclays Capital will unveil its inaugural principal finance shelf offering in February, sources confirmed. Expected to total $1.5 billion, the Structured Asset Backed Receivables (SABR) Trust transaction will be backed by home equity collateral, although the shelf can be used to securitize auto loans, as well as motorcycles, recreational vehicles, light-duty trucks, sport utility vehicles and vans. Since mid-2003, a team consisting of Paul Menefee, John Carroll, Trina Wittman, Elizabeth Shen, Joe O'Doherty and Roopai Gupta have been acquiring collateral and structuring the pending transaction.

Norddeutsche Landesbank hired Kevin O'Hagen as a vice president in its asset-backed finance group, reporting to Omar Olaf Bolli, head of this group. In his new role, he will structure transactions for the Hannover Funding ABCP conduit. O'Hagen recently worked at the former ContiFinancial Services Corp. He has 15 years of experience in the securitization industry.

Hospital and cancer research center Memorial Sloan-Kettering has sold its interest in the future royalties of Neupogen/Neulasta to Royalty Pharma AG for $263 million plus future considerations based upon yearly sales targets. Sloan-Kettering also agreed to purchase a $7 million equity investment in Royalty Pharma, the only visible securitizer of pharmaceutical royalty receivables.

Wachovia Securities has named managing director Leslie Fairbanks as head of a newly formed Real Estate Services group to oversee commercial mortgage servicing and tax credit investment asset management operations. In her new role, Fairbanks reports to Bill Green, managing director and head of the firm's Real Estate Capital Markets unit. Fairbanks joined Wachovia in 1999. She was previously a managing director in the structured finance group.

Fitch Rating upgraded two subordinated classes of BMW Vehicle Owner Trust auto loan ABS last week, due to better-than-anticipated collateral performance. BMWVOT 2001-A class B was raised to AAA' from A+' and series 2002-A class B was raised to AA' from A+'.

Standard & Poor's reported record-high CMBS ratings upgrades and strong new issuance for 2003, despite the depressed fundamentals plaguing the real estate market. Additionally, yield spreads continued to tighten, said Roy Chun, head of CMBS surveillance and author of the report. Chun forecast an even stronger showing for CMBS in 2004. Meanwhile, the real estate market experienced record high defaults last year. However, if the economic recovery in the U.S. stays on track, downgrades in commercial real estate are expected to decline.

Single-family housing starts dropped by 0.6% in December, National Mortgage News reported. However, despite the decrease, 2003 will still go down in history for topping a construction record dating back to 1977. The Census Bureau reported that single-family housing starts decreased to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.66 million in December from 1.67 million in November. Over the year, builders broke ground on 1.50 million new homes, exceeding the 26-year old record of 1.45 million. Just a month ago, forecasters from the National Association of Home Builders said they expect 2004 to be another good year, though it's unlikely to top 2003. But NAHB economists now say that 2004 could possibly be another record year, should the Federal Reserve keep interest rates low until November.

Last week, Standard & Poor's placed 86 European synthetic CDO transactions linked to the troubled Parmalat on CreditWatch. Subsidiaries of the Italian company were named as reference entities under the credit default swaps linked to the CDO transactions. It's part of S&P's policy to place ratings on credit watch after the issuance of a credit event notice. In the present case, among the deals that have Parmalat-related names in the reference portfolios, 83.6% have issued credit event notices. In 1.9% of those cases, the CDO managers have taken on trading losses and moved out of the position. According to industry sources, the Parmalat situation spurred Europe's finance ministers to meet in Brussels last week to discuss new regulations for investment banks and credit rating agencies. Proposals to set up U.S.-style accounting oversight boards in each of the European Union's member states are expected to be considered.

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