Ambac Senior Managing Director Douglas Renfield-Miller has been named chairman of Ambac Assurance U.K. Ltd., where he will oversee Ambac's European operations encompassing both the London office and the Milan branch. Renfield-Miller will also continue to be responsible for the Asia/Pacific markets including offices in Sydney and Tokyo. Renfield-Miller had been responsible for Ambac's commercial asset-backed securities, global structured credit, secondary markets and financial services businesses as well as the company's non-European international activities. Prior to joining Ambac in 2000, he was in the principal finance and credit arbitrage group at UBS. Former Ambac U.K. Chairman, Executive Vice President John Uhlein III is now responsible for focusing on the continued development of Ambac's domestic structured finance business in New York.
Law firm Linklaters hired Paul Kruger away from Clifford Chance. Kruger, who headed Asian capital markets at Clifford Chance, will be based in the firm's Tokyo office and will manage Linklaters' pan-Asian structured finance practice, covering Japan, Korea, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore. Kruger has worked on many transactions since joining Clifford Chance in 1997. It is the latest demonstration of Linklaters' intent to boost its Asian presence, particularly in Japan, following an April regulation change allowing foreign law firms to merge with local practices - Linklaters recently integrated with Mitsui, Yasuda, Wani & Maeda, Japan's sixth biggest law firm.
JPMorgan Securities has hired Allen Todd as a director in its research strategy group to head its CMBS coverage, reporting to global structured finance head and Managing Director Chris Flanagan. Todd, who joins JPMorgan after five years at Bear Stearns, takes over for Patrick Corcoran, who retired earlier this year (see ASR 3/28/05).
Brown Rudnick hired Madeleine Tan as a partner in its structured finance group, focusing on asset-backed, tax-advantaged and structured finance transactions including securitization, leveraged leasing, sale-leaseback transactions, operating and single investor leases, and equity and credit derivatives. Tan had been the principal of Vantis Strategies LLC, a New York-based financial structuring and advisory firm that she founded. Prior to Vantis, Tan had been a partner at Hunton & Williams.
JPMorgan Securities recently poached Sangho Rhee from the BNP Paribas Asian ABS group, and Changsoo Lee has reportedly departed Citigroup Global Markets. It is not clear where Lee, who covered Korean ABS for Citigroup, will surface next.
Credit Suisse First Boston is looking to make a vice president level higher with three to four years of experience in residential mortgage modeling. The position will report to Rod Dubitsky, head of U.S. ABS research. This is in addition to the strategist position CSFB also seeks to fill.
In an effort to clarify and standardize the categories used in its CDO methodology Moody's Investors Service is considering changing its system of classifying home-equity collateral backing both cashflow and synthetic CDO deals. From now on, a home-equity loan will either fall under the prime or subprime category based on the borrower's FICO score. A loan with a FICO score above 650 will be classified as prime while a below 650 FICO score will be classified as subprime. For cashflow CDOs, there had been three categories of analysis.
CIFG reported that it currently has over $1 billion in claims-paying resources, up from $500 million in mid-2002. CIFG said it grew its capital accounts in 2004 through both retained earnings and contributed capital. Parent company, Groupe Caisse d'Epargne, provided a $200 million committed line of credit, of which CIFG immediately drew down $90 million to add growth capital to its financial guaranty operations. CIFG currently has 60 staffers licensed to insure throughout the European Union and in 45 U.S. jurisdictions.
Collegiate Funding Services agreed to acquire International Education Finance Corp., a marketer of federally guaranteed and private education loans, serving both U.S. students going abroad and international students coming to the U.S. IEFC generated more than $180 million of total loan volume for origination last year. A purchase price was not disclosed.
GreenPoint Mortgage announced that it had renewed its agreement with Fidelity Information Services to service its loans over Fidelity's mortgage servicing package. GreenPoint services more than 303,000 mortgage loans and HELOCs on Fidelity's platform and intends to convert an additional 25,000 mortgages to it this year, the company stated.
Axiom Education, a consortium sponsored jointly by ABN AMRO and Shepherd Construction, announced that it is the preferred bidder for the GBP57 million ($104.7 million) Rochdale Grouped Schools Private Finance Initiative project. The project will fund the construction of four new school campuses in Rochdale, Lancashire and has been procured under the U.K. Government's PFI scheme. Axiom Education will also operate the new facilities following completion in September 2007.
Nelnet Inc. began marketing its inaugural debt offering last week, $250 million of senior notes due 2010, via Citigroup Global Markets and JPMorgan Securities. Proceeds from the offering will go towards repayment of amounts outstanding under its line of credit, borrowings under which were utilized for working capital purposes, as well as the expansion of marketing efforts, capital expenditures and technology developments, working capital, warehouse financing for partially and fully disbursed FFELP loans, private education and consumer education loans, and possible acquisitions.
Deere & Co.'s financial services division reported net income of $74.5 million for 1Q05, versus $62.5 million over the same period last year and $162.5 million for six month period ending April 30, 2005, The increases were primarily due to growth in the credit portfolio, reflecting strong demand for John Deere products, as well as a lower provision for credit losses, partially offset by lower financing spreads, the company said. Net receivables and leases financed by JDCC were $15.2 billion at April 30, 2005, compared with $12.3 billion one year ago. Net receivables and leases administered, which include receivables previously sold, totaled $17.4 billion, compared with $15.4 billion one year ago.
Boutique underwriting firm R&R Consulting has re-launched newly redesigned website, www.creditspectrum.com, aimed at introducing clients and prospective clients to the breadth of the firm's structured finance capabilities. "R&R uses heavy-duty modeling techniques taken from engineering to analyze the credit quality of non-recourse debt obligations backed by pools of receivables, like credit cards, residential mortgages, automobile loans, equipment leases, or even corporate debt," R&R said in its Website re-launch release.
Origen Financial reported that its 60-plus day delinquencies were 1.4% of its owned loan portfolio as of March 31, 2005, compared to 1.9% at Dec. 31, 2004. The allowance for general loan losses remained at $5.3 million, unchanged from December 31, 2004. Origen charged off $3.1 million in net loan losses to the general loan loss reserve in 1Q05, compared to $3.5 million for the 1Q04.
Triad Guaranty Insurance Corp. has hired Mary Morehead as vice president of national accounts, reporting to Doug Beaty, senior vice president and national sales manager. Morehead will be responsible for sales and business development of national accounts in Triad's Northwest region. Morehead joins from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle, where she served as a mortgage purchase program relationship manager for Seattle, Wash.
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