Former Banc One Capital Markets researcher Alessandro Pagani started last week at buyside shop and CDO collateral manager Cambridge Place Investment Management as a senior credit analyst. He is reporting to firm partner John Reohr. In his new role, Pagani will analyze a broad spectrum of ABS asset classes. He had been at Banc One's research group for seven years.
After taking a conservative approach thus far in 2004, Gryfon Partners sees more investment opportunities going forward and expects to become a more active investor in the remainder of the year. Noting the "irrational" chase for yield that has kept spreads tight, even for distressed ABS as well as collateral, the changing interest rate environment will likely create opportunities in the coming months for yields more commensurate with the risks currently in the market, noted co-founder George Graham. Gryfon invested $140 million in 2003.
Financial Security Assurance has hired Pamela Snyder, formerly of XL Capital Assurance, as managing director, asset finance, in the corporate finance group. Prior to joining XL, Snyder was first vice president in the financial institutions group of Ambac Assurance Corp. She will report to Rick Holzinger, managing director of the corporate finance group.
Credit Suisse First Boston has hired ABS trader Markus Neimeier away from Barclays Capital to work on its London-based trading desk. Neimeier, an associate director who had been with Barclays for roughly three years, will now report to CSFB's European head of ABS trading Dino Costa.
Laura Strothmann has resigned from her post as associate director of the American Securitization Forum (ASF), Chairman Vernon Wright announced in the closing statements of the 2004 annual meeting. Her new employer was not disclosed other than to say it was an ASF member firm. Strothmann has been with the ASF for 18 months. The ASF will be searching for a replacement. Strothmann's resignation follows the loss earlier this year of Executive Director Dwight Jenkins, for whom a replacement is also currently being sought.
The Bond Market Association named Manfred Schepers, formerly of UBS, as senior managing director and head of The Bond Market Association International. Schepers will be based in London. He joined the association after 17 years at UBS, where he was vice chairman of European Fixed Income Rates & Currency.
Citigroup Global Markets has hired CDO researcher Jeff Prince for a new position in the structured credit group run by CDO research heads Glenn McDermott and Arvind Rajan. Prince had been at Wachovia for about three years.
On May 26, the Court of Appeal handed down its decision on the appeal against the judgment of the Vice-Chancellor in National Westminster Bank PLC v Spectrum Plus Limited and others  EWHC 9 (Ch) ("Spectrum"). In his judgment, the Vice-Chancellor had dealt with the issue of proper characterization of a charge over book debts in a manner consistent with the reasoning applied by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in Agnew and Bearsley v The Commissioner of Inland Revenue and Others, re Brumark Investments Limited  UKPC 28 ("Brumark"). See further details on www.asreport.com
Wall Street Analytics announced last week that it has developed new Student Loan functionality for its Structured Finance Workstation and Bond Administration Workstation products. WSA's Structured Finance Workstation and Bond Administration Workstation already accommodate the vast majority of securitized asset types and will shortly boast a student loan module that allows users to specify deferment periods, grace periods and months for repayments; deferment options including principal and interest, interest only or immediate repayment; designation of forbearance periods; multiple frequencies of interest capitalization and variable margins for in-school period vs. repayment period.
ASF Conference briefs
As confirmed at last week's ASF conference, the SEC began asking for more information about expected-loss tranches toward the end of the first quarter. While it would be speculation to attribute that development to a specific event, the liquidity take-out of Parmalat-related receivables from Citigroup's Eureka Securitization has been noted several times as a potential eyebrow-raiser (see ASR 3/29/04, 4/19/04). The SEC had indicated a year ago that it would be closely watching the developments in FIN 46 implementation, according to panelists.
Lehman Brothers managing director Marilyn Hill, who led a discussion on recent developments in extendible ABCP last week, estimated that as many as 23 new extendible programs are in development, though she acknowledged that this was a bullish forecast. It's not likely that all will launch. Everett Rutan of Moody's Investors Service reported being shown about 10 new programs. Hill noted that the number of new programs has outpaced the growth in outstandings this year.
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