Starting in 2007, Information Management Network's yearly ABS conferences will no longer be known as the ABS West or East conferences. Starting this spring, instead of the usual ABS West Conference typically held in Phoenix, IMN will stage the Spring ABS 2007 in South Beach at The Loews Miami Beach Hotel from April 29 to May 2. The IMN will also hold a similarly named gathering in the fall. "There have been quite a few requests for South Beach, Fla. as a venue," said event coordinator Jade Friedensohn. She also said the Miami would be an ideal place for networking opportunities and enjoying the nightlife. "The Loews Miami has the facilities to accommodate our programming needs where a critical mass of investors and issuers could potentially network and learn about the market," she said.

Najib S. Canaan, who was executive managing director and head of international fixed-income at Nomura Securities, resigned last Tuesday to pursue other interests, according to the bank. Canaan joined Nomura in December 2000, when the bank appointed him deputy head of debt markets. Before that, he was managing director of fixed income for Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. About three years after recruiting Canaan, Nomura promoted Canaan to head of fixed income for its U.S. operations. Yutaka Nakajima, managing director of fixed income at the firm, stepped in as interim head of the division.

BNP Paribas just hired Christos Danias as the new head of CDOs at the firm. Danias started at the firm last Monday. He is based in London and reports to Fabrice Susini, head of European securitization. Danias joins BNP from Credit Suisse where he was working in the CDO group. Prior to his stint at Credit Suisse, he was in the securitization division at Bear Stearns and Morgan Stanley. "Bringing Christos on board with his extensive experience will help us futher expand our CDO franchise in Europe, which remains core to the Bank and is part of its commitment to providing clients with the most innovative debt solutions," said Tim Drayson, global head of securitization at BNP.

Lehman Brothers Holdings has hired three new bankers for its global capital markets team in Asia. Hiroshi Wakutsu was appointed as head of global finance for Japan, Terence Lim as head of global finance solutions for Asia, and Juhi Prasad as the new head of leveraged finance for Asia. Wakutsu will oversee the company's equity capital markets, debt capital markets, leveraged finance, structured equity solutions and risk solutions in Japan. He joined the company on May 1, and was previously at Calyon Capital Markets Asia and Nikko Citigroup/Nikko Salomon Smith Barney in Japan. Lim joined Lehman Brothers in Hong Kong from JPMorgan Chase. Meanwhile, Prasad joined the company's debt capital-markets team in April from Deutsche Bank in Hong Kong.

Merrill Lynch hired Joe Pedlow as managing director and Jerome Anselme as director in its London-based EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) real estate finance group. Pedlow will focus on leading and expanding the firm's commercial real estate financing activities with financial sponsor and similar investment banking clients in Europe. Pedlow and Anselme join Merrill Lynch from Citibank where they were part of the European real estate and securitization businesses. Both hires will report to Stephen Green, head of real estate finance, EMEA at Merrill Lynch.

CMBS B-piece investor CWCapital Investments last week announced plans for a new investment fund, and hired Craig Henrich to lead the effort. Henrich will report to CWCI President Chuck Spetka. The new hire was previously a fund manager and partner at Deutsche Bank's RREEF Real Estate Mezzanine Funds.

Moody's KMV has hired Charles Stewart to join the firm's London office as a senior director in the credit strategies group. In his new role, Stewart will focus on providing thought leadership and a perspective on issues such as active credit portfolio management and the evolution of credit risk analysis, Moody's KMV said in a statement. Stewart most recently worked as a portfolio trading director for Barclays Bank's U.K. banking operations. He was also a commercial banker for more than 20 years.

Hedge fund manager Halcyon Asset Management appointed Ross Smead to head a new CLO business. Smead will seek to expand Halcyon's initiatives in the CLO market, constructing and managing multiple CLO vehicles. Smead previously worked as a managing director and portfolio manager at Prudential Investment Management, where he was employed for 21 years. As head of Prudential's bank loan business, Smead was responsible for over $3.5 billion of assets under management, mostly in CLOs. Meanwhile, Halcyon also announced that it has hired Aaron Goldberg as CFO. He replaces Jim Pasquarelli, who will continue to work at the firm as a senior consultant. Goldberg previously worked as a senior finance officer at hedge fund managers BlueMountain Capital Management, AQR Capital Management and Reservoir Capital Group. Indeed, Smead's arrival at Halcyon follows the firm's prior hiring of Steven Mandis, managing principal and chief investment officer, from Goldman Sachs in October 2004. Mandis later recruited three specialists in distressed asset-backed securities, and last month, Halcyon hired Raj Kumar from Zais Group to create and manage CDO-squares, ABS CDOs and other securitized products.

ACA Capital Holdings plans to raise up to $100 million through an initial public offering and use the funds for general corporate purposes, according to documents the company filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The asset management firm has three main lines of business: CDO asset management, structured credit and municipal finance. At the end of last year, the company had $9.9 billion in CDOs under management.

For once, getting cut out of a deal might be a good thing for mortgage-backed securities. Federal regulatory agencies seem to have excluded ABS from a discussion about financial institutions that handle complex structured finance transactions. Last week, the Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Securities and Exchange Commission, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Office of Thrift Supervision issued a joint statement calling for public comments on a revised proposed statement on possible controls for activities of financial institutions, especially those that handle complex structured finance transactions. The proposed internal controls and risk management procedures are intended to help companies identify, manage and address sensitive legal and other risks that arise from such transactions.

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

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