Rabobank International hired Ronald Grobeck as a managing director in the firm's CDO group, where he will be responsible for the overall management of Rabobank's corporate CDO fund vehicles, including portfolio management, trading, structuring, analytics, and operations. He reports to Sheldon Sussman, global head of structuring and portfolio management at Rabobank. Grobeck joins from The Carlyle Group, where he was a managing director and head of marketing and investor relations in the leveraged finance group.
The American Securitization Forum recently made a $25,000 charitable donation to Habitat for Humanity International. In its statement announcing the donation, the ASF noted the link between housing finance and securitization markets, "the Board felt that contributing to this organization was an appropriate and responsible way for the ASF to supplement the charitable initiatives being undertaken by many of its individual members and member firms to alleviate the pain, loss and dislocation caused by the recent Gulf Coast hurricanes."
HSBC Securities said it plans to launch a new CMBS conduit next year, backed by loans from its 22 regional centers and 4,000-branch network. According to market reports, the bank expects to securitize it future property loans that are over GBP10 million ($17.67 million) in size.
While existing home sales reported by the National Association of Realtors rose by 2% to 7.29 million units annualized - the second highest to June's all-time record and the fifth straight reading above the seven million mark - the Commerce Department reported a 9.9% drop in new home sales.
RBS Greenwich Capital Chief Economist Stephen Stanley said that based on existing home sales figures, recent reports of the housing sector's demise have been greatly exaggerated. The uptick in existing home "inventory" implies that homeowners are still willing to test the waters. At the margin, this should help stem rising home prices going forward, Stanley added. Meanwhile, new home sales for August came in much weaker than expected, dropping to a seasonally adjusted annual rate 1.24 million units. RBS Greenwich analysts said that the "speculative" edge of homebuilding is coming off, as the largest drop in new home sales, 17.9%, was in the Western region, although this remains the eleventh highest monthly print on record.
Now that Centex Corp. has finalized its sale of its Fairclough Homes U. K. home building operations to Miller Homes, the company is also exploring strategic alternatives, for its subprime home equity lending group, Centex Home Equity Co. This would allow Centex to focus more on its core home building related businesses. Goldman Sachs has been retained as advisor in the potential strategic alternative, the company reports and "there can be no assurance that this initiative will result in a CHEC transaction." Bear Stearns analysts report that Centex home equity ABS spreads have not reacted to the news. While analysts expect any effect to be minimal, they cautioned investors to keep track of the situation. Operational risks caused by the transition of Centex's subprime servicing division, although slight, could result in spread volatility depending on the ultimate buyer, analysts said, noting that as of 2Q05, Centex's subprime servicing portfolio was valued at roughly $10 billion.
Fitch Ratings announced that Rachel Hardee is moving to the rating agency's Hong Kong office in January to head up the Asia-Pacific structured credit team. Hardee will be one of three analysts in the region that is dedicated solely to CDOs. Hardee is heading to Asia from London, where she has worked as head of Fitch's European leveraged finance team for the past five years. Replacing Hardee in London is Edward Eyerman, who most recently worked as a senior director at Fitch.
Merrill Lynch launched a new U.S. CMBS Index, including 3,017 constituents with a total capitalization in excess of $367 billion. Data sets of returns and risk characteristics are available back to December 1997. sub-indices are also available that segment the market by rating and tenor. Qualifying bonds must have a fixed-rate coupon and must be rated investment grade, based on an average of Fitch Ratings, Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor's and. Floaters, inverse floaters, IO classes, re-securitized, and agency deals are therefore excluded from the Index. The minimum original deal size is $250 million and the current outstanding value of each qualifying collateral group must be greater than or equal to 10 percent of the original deal size. In addition, the current amount outstanding of individual senior tranches must be greater than or equal to $50 million, and individual mezzanine and subordinated tranches must be greater than or equal to $25 million.
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