Banc of America Securities recruited Christopher Hawke as a principal in its principal financing group, where he will focus on new business development and originations in the consumer ABS sector. A 12-year industry expert, Hawke previously worked for Citigroup Global Markets, where he was in the asset-backed underwriting group. Before that, he was an attorney at Thacher Proffitt & Wood, in their asset-backed finance practice. Hawke reports to Dan Goodwin, managing director of asset-backed securities for Banc of America Securities.
Financial guarantor CIFG promoted Michael Knopf to general counsel, overseeing global structured finance and capital markets. Also, Robert Drillings won a promotion to general counsel, over global infrastructure and public finance. Previously, Knopf was deputy general counsel for MBIA, where he supported its structured finance division. Drillings was senior vice president and general counsel for The New York State Housing Finance Agency and The State of New York Mortgage Agency. In another staff move, CIFG recruited Anjali Bastianpillai as a director, in its London-based European capital markets group, where she will focus on CDOs. Bastianpillai was a director of the European CDO group at Standard & Poor's. She was also an analyst of corporate ABS for New York City-based Capital Markets Assurance Corp.
Moody's Investors Service promoted Nicholas Levidy and Paolo Obias as managing directors in its commercial asset-backed securities group. Both were previously senior vice presidents. Levidy, who joined Moody's in 1998, was formerly a senior counsel for real estate and corporate finance with PNC Bank, and also served as a real estate attorney for several government agencies and private law firms. Obias, who joined Moody's in 1997, and worked in the Tokyo office for several years, previously held positions with two Indonesian real estate firms. Levidy will continue to report to Tad Philipp, co-head of Moody's US CMBS group. Obias will continue to report to Jim Duca, co-head of Moody's U.S. CMBS group. Both promotions are effective immediately.
Mary Dierdorff has been appointed to the newly created position of director and U.S. securitization portfolio manager at BNP Paribas. In her new role, Dierdorff, who was most recently a director in asset securitization for German bank WestLB, will be based in New York and report to Sean Reddington, head of U.S. securitization. Reddington stated that Dierdorff is a great addition to the company and added that she "will manage the credit portfolio risk arising from BNP Paribas's $15 billion (12 million) Starbird conduit and other warehouse lending programs."
The international law firm of Brown Rudnick announced that Albert Pinzon and Thomas Weinberger have joined as partners in its structured finance group. The duo previously led the insurance-linked securities and life insurance finance practices at Mound Cotton Wollan & Greengrass. In their new roles they will cover matters involving insurance and reinsurance, as well as numerous capital market transactions. Pinzon focuses primarily on cross-border transactions, insurance-linked securities and corporate structuring, while Weinberger's practice mainly focuses on insurance and risk-linked securities, life insurance finance and related capital market transactions, including Regulation XXX and AXXX, reverse funding transactions, life settlements, premium finance and alternative risk transfer and securitization transactions. This announcement follows Brown Rudnick's June notice that Paul Afonso, former chairman of the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Energy, joined the firm as the co-practice leader of the government law and strategies group in Boston.
C-BASS, an affiliate of MGIC and Radian Group, announced the promotion of John Draghi to chief operating officer and Marc Rosenthal and Noelle Savarese as co-heads of capital markets. Rosenthal was also named the company's chief investment officer, taking over Draghi. In his new role, Draghi will work with the company's chief executive officer Bruce Williams and president Saul Sanders to direct all aspects of the firm's operations and business strategy. Rosenthal, who joined the company in 2000, was a managing director in C-BASS's capital markets area since 2004. Savarese, who joined the firm in 1996, has been a managing director of capital markets since 2000. In other company news, in addition to Williams, Sanders and Draghi, Jeff Toll, senior managing director, and Jack Navarro, executive vice president, have joined the firm's executive committee.
Adam Blakemore will join Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft as a partner while David Burke was appointed special counsel. Both will work from the firm's London office. Blakemore was formerly a lawyer with Allen & Overy. In his new role, Blakemore will advise financial institutions and corporations on tax issues in structuring complex domestic and cross-border transactions, particularly in securitization and innovative structured finance; joint ventures, acquisitions, and disposals; reorganisations in solvent and distressed debt situations; and real estate and private equity financings. He will also provide counsel on domestic tax litigation and disputes. Meanwhile, Burke's focus is on U.K. and international corporate tax, specifically the tax aspects of structured finance and restructuring transactions. He handles tax issues arising from the origination and securitization of loan and property portfolios and advises issuers, arrangers and managers on CDO/CLO and cat astrophe bond transactions. He has also worked on several major restructurings and advised the U.S. and other investors on their U.K. operations and investments.
Standard & Poor's has assigned a AA' financial strength rating, with a stable outlook, to Radian Group's recently authorized mortgage insurance subsidiary Radian Europe. In the report, S&P noted that the rating reflects Radian's explicit support for Radian Europe and its strategic importance to the company's mortgage insurance division. "This rating enables Radian Europe to offer an array of mortgage credit risk solutions to clients in the United Kingdom and European Union," said Radian in a recent press release.
GFI Group announced the opening of a new Islamic banking and finance brokerage desk in London. "Islamic banking and finance is growing significantly at the moment and there is great potential for the development of a secondary market in Islamic Sukuk bonds and other financing products," said Steven McMillan, GFI's senior managing director, Europe. Accordingly, Moody's Investors Services reports that there has been a global issuance of Sukuk bonds of $41 billion since 1990, and that the Gulf region has seen as average annual growth of 45% over the past five years. Chris Steer will head the new desk, where he will be joined by Ali Merchant and Alain Marckus.
Moody's Investors Service placed Navistar Financial Corp.'s sponsored dealer floorplan ABS under review for possible downgrade. The move affects five series of notes ranging from 2004 to 1998 totaling $624 million. The notes were issued from the Navistar Financial Dealer note Master Trust. The rating agency made the decision after it withdrew Navistar's corporate rating, on concerns that it lacked adequate financial information to maintain a rating, plus the fact that the company's corporate and ABS bond ratings are linked. The performance of the dealer loans depends on the dealers' financial health, which depends on the manufacturer's performance.
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