After market close on Thursday, United Capital Markets hired ABS secondary trader Randall White from Wachovia Securities last week. White had been principal secondary aircraft and CDO trader at Wachovia dating back to its days as First Union Capital Markets.

Michael Pettingill has joined law firm McDermott Will & Emery as a partner, where he will handle a wide range of responsibilities, including the representation of collateral managers and investment banks in CDOs and total return swap programs, as well as representing issuers and underwriters in a wide range of ABS, trade receivables and commercial mortgage-backed transactions. Pettingill formerly served as counsel at O'Melveny & Myers.

Steven Howard recently joined the law firm Thacher Proffitt & Wood as a partner in the Corporate and Financial Institutions Practice Group. Howard most recently worked in the Investment Funds Practice Group at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, where he worked on organization of investment funds, registration of public funds under the Investment Company Act, fund mergers and acquisitions, bank fund conversions and fund rights offerings. Additionally, TP&W has hired Thomas Majewski as counsel in the Corporate and Financial Institutions Practice Group.

Barclays Capital last week announced the appointment of Hans Vrensen as director handling European CMBS research. Vresen will work closely with Phil Adams, European research team head. He was formerly senior credit officer at Moody's Investors Service. Vrensen had previously been investment director at Orion Capital Managers and vice president at LaSalle Investment Management.

Radian Guaranty Inc. named Mark Casale as senior vice president, capital markets. In his new role, Casale will be responsible for the continued growth of Radian's credit enhancement products and services in the non-prime mortgage markets. Casale previously had been Radian's senior vice president, strategic investments. Prior to joining Radian in 2001, Casale was with Advanta Corp., where he held several positions in the company's mortgage group.

Lehman Brothers has appointed Jerry Rizzieri to head the trading of passthroughs, U.S. government and agency securities. Rizziere, who previously led the trading of agency bonds at Lehman, takes over for J.P. Marra in Treasury and agency mortgage bond trading. Marra left to oversee Treasury and agency trading for Banc of America Securities. Meanwhile, short-maturity Treasury and agency debt trading will be headed by David Lohuis, who is head of Lehman's liquid rates financing business.

Alonso Sanchez recently joined Moody's Investors Service as an analyst in the Moody's de Mexico Latin America Asset-Backed Securities team, based in Mexico City. In his position, Sanchez will be working on structured transactions to be placed in the domestic market. Prior to joining Moody's, Sanchez worked in the Corporate Banking groups at Bank of America, FleetBoston Financial and Scotiabank.

Diane Lam was hired by FSA as a director in its Singapore office. Lam had worked out of Standard & Poor's Hong Kong office for eight years. In her new position, Lam reports to Managing Director Michael Horn and be responsible for asset-backed and residential mortgage-backed securities, collateralized debt obligations and public infrastructure financings originated in Asian countries.

Andrew Davidson & Co., Inc. announced the hiring of fixed-income specialists Kyle Lundstedt and John Ferrante to lead the development of RMBS credit models and to enhance the company's loan-level prepayment models. Previously a co-founder and managing director of VaRisk, Lundstedt has experience developing customized risk models for large financial institutions. John Ferrante, who co-founded VaRisk with Lundstedt, was also senior software engineer for the firm.

CenterPoint Energy announced last week that effective Friday, it will change the Bloomberg ticker symbol on its transition bonds issued by CenterPoint Energy Transition Bond Co. The ticker symbol on these transition bonds will change from RNLT 2001-1 to CNP 2001-1, and will affect bonds with the CUSIPs 75953MAA8, 75953MAB6, 75953MAC4, and 75953MAD2. This is the second name change for the issuer, which became CenterPoint Energy on August 31, 2002, from the former Reliant Energy.

Freddie Mac announced last week that it was expanding its Initial Interest mortgage products to include Constant Maturity Treasury (CMT) and (Libor) 3/1, 5/1, and 7/1 ARMs with a 10-year interest-only period. Those borrowers opting for these new ARM products will make fully amortizing principal and interest payments only after the 10-year initial interest period expires, said Freddie The GSE also announced that beginning July 1, originators could sell Initial Interest mortgages via Freddie's web-based selling system and opt for cash or guarantor executions.

Housing starts surged to a 21-year high while single-family starts established a new all-time high despite unfavorable weather conditions. There were significant increases in the South (18.8%) and a slight gain in the West (1.9%). RBS Greenwich Capital analysts reported that this data highlights the underlying strength in the housing sector. As long as mortgage rates are low and employment and income gains are firm, housing demand will stay strong, analysts added.

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