Mike Bray joined the sales force last week at Guggenheim Capital Markets as senior vice president. He will focus on products traded by ABS and CDO traders Ron Iervolino and Steven Finnk. Bray most recently specialized in distressed ABS for First Albany.

Ivan Gjaja, who was formerly director and head of ABS research at Citigroup Global Markets, will join Banc of America Securities as part of the principal finance group headed by Paul Jablansky, according to market sources. Jablansky was also previously at Citi and held the same position Gjaja had when he left the bank. BofA representatives refused to confirm Gjaja's hiring when called for comment.

Paul Vernhes, managing director of Cohen Freres, the Paris-based subsidiary of CDO investment firm Cohen Brothers, has been appointed head of Dekania Europe programs. Dekania Europe is a subordinated notes CDO program that focuses on lending to small and mid-sized insurance companies and banks in Europe. Cohen Brothers closed Dekania Europe CDO I, which was supposedly the first transaction of its kind outside the U.S., in September 2005. Vernhes was most recently the accounting and finance director for Corifrance, the French reinsurance subsidiary of Markel Corp. Also supervising the Dekania Europe program is Erik Woodworth.

Deutsche Bank Securities has hired Troy Dixon as a managing director and head of pass-through mortgage trading in the firm's global markets division. Keith Willard will also join the pass-through trading group as a director and Cyle Berwanger as an associate. Dixon will report to both Anilesh Ahuja, managing director and head of residential MBS, and Jon Kinol, managing director and head of rates trading for North America. Dixon, an industry expert with over 10 years experience in the pass-through mortgage market, joins the firm from UBS where he was an executive director and head of pass-through trading. Prior to that, he was head of pass-through trading at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette and retained the same role at Credit Suisse after its acquisition of DLJ. Willard and Berwanger also join from UBS, where Willard was a director responsible for pass-through trading of specified mortgage pools.

Torsten Althaus will head Standard & Poor's newly established European covered bonds team. Althaus previously oversaw the rating process for transactions originating out of Germany and will remain responsible for strategic aspects regarding the structured finance business in Germany. Nicolas Malaterre, who is based in Paris, will take over Althaus' prior responsibilities, gradually handing over these duties to Volker Lger, an associate director based in Frankfurt. Lger joined S&P in January.

Fitch Ratings in Europe hired two analysts responsible for rating mortgage servicers. Robbie Sargent joins the agency as an associate director after nearly 12 years with Abbey Nacional, working in residential lending most recently as governance and controls manager for Abbey's intermediary business. Heather Collins was formerly with Fitch's ABS group in London. She transferred to the servicer rating team earlier this year. They report to Edward Register, director in Fitch's European structured finance team.

Merrill Lynch hired Laurence Schreiber as a managing director to oversee its newly created Americas Debt Product Structuring Group. The unit will focus on structured derivatives and emerging markets and all aspects of other fixed-income debt structuring products, such as rates, credit, foreign exchange and local currency. The group will not deal with cash and synthetic CDOs. Previously, Schreiber was a partner at CARE Capital Group, a company that specializes in managing hedge funds. Before that, he was global head of structuring for Deutsche Bank's emerging markets and commodities businesses.

Goldman Sachs has hired three investment bankers away from UBS to lead its Asian real estate investment-banking group, according to The Wall Street Journal. Michael Smith, Vincent Peng and Peter Best will lead Goldman's push into the Asian real estate market. Smith, who formerly led the real estate group at UBS, will be based in Singapore. Peng, the former head of UBS' corporate investment group, will be based in Hong Kong. Best had been with UBS in Singapore. Prior to that assignment, he led Colonial First State Property's strategic opportunities group in Sydney.

Moody's Investors Service's subprime auto loan credit indexes continued to show stable performance in January, as indicated by the monthly rate of increase for Moody's All-Pools Static Chargeoff Index. This index measures performance after taking into account deal additions and deletions from the index. The index stayed within the 1% to 2% historical range and posted a 1.3% rise in January, similar to December's level of 1.6%. The All-Pools Market Chargeoff Index also barely moved, posting a small drop of 0.1% in January 2006, after showing a similar decrease of 0.3% in December 2005.These findings are detailed in the report, "Moody's Subprime Auto Loan Credit Indexes: January 2006."

The CDO market shows no signs of slowing down, with U.S. cash flow volume at $23.9 billion as of March 3, representing a 60 percent increase over volume at the same point last year, according to Merrill Lynch. In early March it launched a CDO equity internal rate of return barometer to monitor middle market CLOs. As for Merrill's other CDO measurements, the Hybrid TruPS and High Yield CLO barometers saw increases while two others - the Mezz SF CBO and High Grade SF CBO - saw IRRs fall slightly due to collateral spread tightening.

The National Association of Realtors reported that contracts to buy previously owned homes fell for the fifth consecutive month in January, as higher prices and mortgages turned home buyers away. NAR's index of pending resales dropped 1.1% from the revised December figure to 116.3. NAR representatives expect existing home sales to drop 4.7% in 2006, while new home sales are predicted to dip 8.5%.

In a report released last week, Moody's Investors Service stated that credit risk in large loan CMBS deals is highly concentrated and credit drift affecting only one loan or a few loans can result in a rating change. The credit drift and loan payoffs that commonly impact the deals cause more frequent and substantial ratings actions compared to those that impact conduit or fusion transactions. Of the 119 Moody's-rated U.S. large loan transactions, the report focuses on the 51 deals secured by floating-rate loans, as these tend to pay off rapidly and usually exhibit credit drift. The report explains Moody's approach to surveillance, including a step-by-step walk-through of the rating agency's review process.

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

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