Declan Hegarty has been appointed managing director of global investment banking in the corporate, investment banking and markets division of HSBC Bank Middle East Ltd. Hegarty is responsible for HSBC's financing businesses in the MENA region. HSBC's regional financing businesses include project and export finance, debt and equity capital markets, syndicated debt and securitization. Hegarty will replace David Moleshead, who formerly led the team and recently retired from full-time responsibilities at the bank. Hegarty reports to Neil Foster, head of global markets, and Antoine Cahuzac, head of global banking for HSBC Bank Middle East.

Jack Campbell has joined Hypo Public Finance Bank on June 1, and will lead the firm's efforts in asset- based finance. The new hire, who will be based in New York, will be part of the capital markets group and will report directly to Tom Glynn, deputy CEO. Campbell joins from the New York branch of HSH Nordbank AG where he was head of transportation finance for the Americas. Previously, he worked in related roles for PB Capital Corp. and Credit Suisse First Boston. "We are very pleased to have Jack on board," said Stephan Bub, CEO of Hypo Public Finance. "I am sure that his extensive experience in asset based finance in transportation and logistics sectors will add an important value to our company."

RBC Capital Markets said last week that it has appointed Patrick Demilecamps as a director within its European infrastructure finance business. He has more than 12 years of banking experience, advising and structuring financing packages for companies in the infrastructure sector. In his new role, Demilecamps will focus particularly on growing the firm's business in continental Europe. He will be based in London, and will report to Giles Tucker, managing director and head of infrastructure finance. Demilecamps joins RBC from CIT Capital Finance where he focused on European PFI/PPP projects.

Resource America has hired Kyle Geoghegan and Darryl Myrose as managing directors of Resource Real Estate Funding (RREF). Both hires join Resource from Bear Stearns, where as managing directors, they oversaw the firm's L.A. office for its commercial real estate lending business. In their new roles, Geoghegan and Myrose will focus on the direct origination of floating-rate commercial mortgages. They will work with John Boyt, who oversees B-note, mezzanine and whole loan origination, and who is based in New York. Both Goeghegan and Myrose will report to David Bloom, senior vice president of Resource America's parent company Resource Capital Corp. and president of RREF.

According to the latest global update report by Fitch Ratings, rating upgrades have made a significant comeback in 1Q06. Not only did the amount of upgrades almost tripled compared with 1Q05, reaching 1,203 from 421, but the ratio of upgrades to downgrades also greatly improved to 4.1:1 in the first quarter of 2006, versus 1.1:1 at the same time last year. The most notable U.S. structured finance sector was CMBS, illustrated by its 28.4:1 upgrade-to-downgrade ratio. The positive rating results had much to do with a rise in defeasance, and more recently, the improving economy and strong real estate markets. Overall, there were slightly more downgrades than upgrades for U.S. CDOs, 42 versus 40. It is expected that big name risk, in addition to exposure to sectors like manufactured housing and aircraft leases, will continue to influence the future rating performance of CDOs.

The U.S. Congress has passed a veterans' benefits bill that includes a fix for VA hybrid ARMs and opens the door for their inclusion into Ginnie Mae MBS pools, reported ASR sister publication National Mortgage News. Veterans Bill S. 1235 gives the secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs the discretion to set the interest rate adjustment on VA-guaranteed 5/1 hybrids and removes the current 100 basis point cap. The secretary will likely set the interest rate increase at a maximum industry standard of 200 basis points each year, said Keith Pedigo, director of the VA loan guaranty program. The Federal Housing Administration hybrid program also permits a 200 basis point adjustment for 5/1, 7/1 and 10/1 hybrids with a 600 basis point lifetime cap. Once the president signs S. 1235, Ginnie Mae could then pool VA and FHA hybrids together, resulting in better execution. Pedigo expects this change to stimulate increased VA hybrid origination.

Amidst the increasing problems for Fannie Mae, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) has sent the Federal Register for publication and public comment a proposed regulation that would require both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to establish and maintain a record retention program. "The proposed rule is a continuation of OFHEO's regulatory infrastructure project and sets forth requirements in an area essential for safe and sound operations," stated John Lockhart, OFHEO acting director, in a statement. "Under the proposal, the Enterprise will have an obligation to maintain and promptly produce records useful in regulatory examinations and other proceedings."

Last week Canadian National Railway Co. announced that it has entered into a five-year accounts receivable securitization program of up to a maximum of C$600 million with RBC Capital Markets. The new program replaces the firm's current receivables securitization program that was set to expire in 2Q06.

Henderson Global Investors, a global asset manager with $126.3 billion of assets under management, entered into an agreement with JPMorgan Hedge Fund Services last week. JPMorgan HFS will take over Henderson's hedge fund middle and back office services and the employees that service 14 hedge funds representing approximately $2 billion of assets. Henderson has signed a multi-year contract and the company's hedge funds will be serviced by JPMorgan HFS' new London office.

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

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