Wachovia Securities announced last week that its real estate capital markets group will start delivering commercial mortgage loan and REPO finance products in both the U.K. and Germany. This expansion into Europe is being headed by Bill Cohane and Peter Riemenschneider, who both report to Bill Green, managing director and head of real estate capital. Cohane, a managing director, is in charge of securitization, structured finance and the REPO/warehouse finance business from the firm's London office. Meanwhile, Riemenschneider, a managing director, will focus on origination throughout Europe, initially from the company's Frankfurt, Germany, and London offices.

HSBC has begun its search to replace Sarwar Ahmad, the bank's departing head of ex-Japan Asia securitization. Financial recruitment firms contacted ASR to say a shortlist of candidates is being compiled, with interviews expected to begin shortly. It is unlikely, however, that a replacement will join until after annual bonuses have been paid.

BMO Financial Group, along with global derivatives professionals Flavio Bartmann and Conrad Voldstad, has established U.S.-based investment company Pallium Investment Management, aimed at managing Triple-A rated product. According to a company release, the new firm will initially focus on credit derivatives, eventually developing other product lines where a Triple-A rating will be beneficial. The Jersey City, N.J.-based company is now in the process of recruiting portfolio and credit managers. "We are pleased to be working with two of the top professionals in the global structured product company market as we continue to build our structured credit asset management business," said Ellen Costello, vice chair and global head of securitization and credit investment management at BMO's investment banking group.

For the January distribution date (December reporting month), net charge-offs for Discover Card Master Trust I (DCMT) rose to 9.67%, from the previous month's elevated level of 6.80%. Similarly, in December, MBNA's MBNAM and MBNAS charge-offs rose to 10.94% and 10.90%, from 5.48% and 5.59%, respectively. Juliet Jones, an associate director at Barclays Capital, said that the anomaly in charge-offs is driven by the rush-to-file ahead of the new bankruptcy reform law in October 2005. However, she expects charge-offs to abate in January (February distribution date), after two months at elevated levels while continuing to recommend buying prime credit card ABS serviced by strong entities. Jones said that, as evidenced by Citibank and Capital One's performance reports, the bankruptcy-induced spike in charge-offs was short lived. Jones expects that in the longer term, charge-offs will revert back to their previous trend as well as excess spreads.

Taiwan's E-Sun Bank is rumored to have selected Citigroup Global Markets to arrange its next CBO. No details are yet known other than the offering will be, like virtually all Taiwanese ABS activity at present, linked to the distressed structured portfolios held by the country's bond funds (ASR, 10/31/05). E-Sun completed a NT$10.05 billion ($311.5 million) CBO in October, with ABN Amro the arranger. The deal comprised 50% of structured bonds acquired from E-Sun Securities Investment Trust with most of the remaining 50% bought from other investment trusts. The transaction was unlike other similarly motivated CBOs - such as Chinatrust Commercial Bank's NT$18 billion issue structured by UBS - that comprised roughly 50% of structured bonds and 50% triple-A rated foreign paper.

E-Sun's offering consisted instead of purely domestic structured bonds, plus a small amount of government paper; and was sold at a significant discount to boost yield. The senior triple-A piece was offered at 1.825% on a 3.5-year average life.

The American Securitization Forum's annual conference will return to Sin City in 2007, the industry group announced late last week. ASF 2007, scheduled for Jan. 28 through Jan. 31, will take place at the Venetian Hotel. The group decided to hold the conference in Las Vegas following "phenomenal industry response," George Miller, executive director of the ASF said in a statement. This year's conference, ASF 2006, is set to take place later this month at the newly built Wynn Las Vegas Hotel. ASF 2006 currently has 3,549 registered attendees including 586 issuers and more than 900 investors.

Standard Chartered recently named Brad Levitt as global head of capital markets, wholesale banking, effective Jan. 1, 2006. Levitt, who was the bank's managing director and head of Asian and Middle East fixed income for the last eight years, takes over from David Worth, who left last month. Levitt will be based in Singapore, and be responsible for the bank's global capital markets business, which includes fixed income, ABS, loan syndications, credit derivatives and convertible bonds. Stanchart also announced the appointment of Anton Martin as head of global investor sales, capital markets, also effective Jan. 1. Martin, previously the bank's Hong Kong-based global head for distribution, will relocate to Singapore.

(c) 2006 Asset Securitization Report and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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