The American Securitization Forum has named George Miller as its new executive director, the trade group announced last week. In his new position, Miller will serve as the ASF's senior staff executive, overseeing the ASF's staff and securitization market advocacy initiatives. Miller will relinquish his current title and responsibilities as deputy general counsel of The Bond Market Association (TBMA) in order to devote his full attention to the ASF. Miller has been with TBMA since 1993, when he joined as assistant general counsel and principal staff adviser to TBMA's Mortgage and Securitized Products Division.
United Capital Markets has secured classic rockers The Doobie Brothers to perform at the 2004 IMN ABS East conference next month. The quintet has released 17 albums from Toulouse Street (1972) through Sibling Rivalry (2000), including hits such as China Grove, Listen To The Music, Takin' It To The Streets, Black Water andJesus Is Just All Right. The concert is slated for Wednesday evening on site at the Boca Raton Resort and Club.
Deutsche Asset Management last week announced the hiring of Steve Lynch as a sector manager for ABS and CMBS investments in its specialty fixed-income group. Lynch is responsible for investments for institutional clients and Scudder Fixed Income Mutual Funds. Lynch, who is based in New York, reports to managing director Sean McCaffrey. Prior to Deutsche, Lynch was at JPMorgan Fleming Asset Management where he managed $11 billion in ABS, CMBS and Ginnie Mae construction loan portfolios and developed strategies for these sectors.
Sallie Mae acquired a majority interest in Arrow Financial Services for an undisclosed price last week, along with the option to buy the remaining interest over a three-year period. Earlier this year, Arrow closed its first term securitization since the third quarter of 2002, a $40 million, self-brokered securitization of consumer debt.
Deutsche Bank Securities has hired Amin Majidi to head its U.S. mortgage strategy and co-head of mortgage research for the Americas working alongside Gregg Patruno, head of mortgage modeling, and reporting to head of structured finance research Karen Weaver and head of U.S. fixed income strategy Mustafa Chowdhury. Majidi joins from ABP Investments, where he was a senior portfolio manager responsible for mortgage-backed securities with a focus on derivatives products. Prior to ABP, Majidi was a portfolio manager at Priton Capital, a unit of Bear Stearns Asset Management.
SG Corporate & Investment Banking is leading its second transaction this year, backed entirely by credit card payments made by college students, sources confirmed. First Financial Bank plans to offer roughly $100 million of three-year floating-rate paper in the Rule 144A market sometime before ABS East. The offering will be wrapped by a yet-to-be announced surety provider.
Standard & Poor's lowered the outlook on the double-A minus rated subordinated debt and preferred stock of Fannie Mae to "negative" after the Office of the Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight said the GSE committed violations of standard accounting rules. The rating agency stated that a downgrade would not affect Fannie's triple-A senior unsecured debt rating. The rating will be either cut or affirmed according to the resolution of the regulator's investigation, the outcome of the Securities and Exchange Commission's probe as well as the financial impact of any restatement, S&P stated.
Fitch Ratings reported an uncharacteristically high number of rating actions for the typically sluggish August. The rating agency recorded 42 downgrades and 25 upgrades for the month. This flurry of activity comes after two months in which term rating activity lay dormant. All 25 upgrades came from the auto sector and were due largely to improved available credit enhancement levels. Analysts expect future volatility in the aircraft and franchise sectors due to persistent industry weakness.
With inflation fears eased and following the Fed's decision to inch rates up, Nomura Securities chief economist David Resler predicted a pattern of stable growth for the U.S. economy, including home sales and corporate profits heading into 2005. However, a slowdown in consumer spending and sluggish growth in exports created soft patches that emerged in the second quarter, such as the auto sector. But a slowdown in consumer spending is no cause to worry about the housing market, the economist said. Refinancing is a mechanism by which "people extract wealth gains in the value of the property itself," Resler said, and is therefore independent from consumer spending swings.
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