Wachovia Securities announced last week that Glenn Schultz has joined the firm's structured products research team as managing director and head of ABS and non-agency mortgage research. Schultz, who is based in Charlotte, N.C., reports to Brian Lancaster, managing director and head of structured products research. The new hire will also be working closely with Brian McManus, who heads the firm's CDO research team, on joint research in ABS CDOs. Schultz joins Wachovia from RBC Financial Group, where he managed the home equity loan ABS business. Before, he spent almost 10 years at JPMorgan/Banc One as head of residential ABS research and as a director of prepayment modeling and analytics.
Cohen & Co. has hired away another Merrill Lynch CDO staffer. Frank Viola has left Merrill, where he was a managing director and lead portfolio manager for the ABS CDO program at Merrill Lynch Investment Advisors. Viola joined Cohen, effective last week, as a managing director and ABS portfolio manager at Cohen's ABS CDO management unit Strategos Capital Management. The hire reflects Cohen's intent to grow its presence within the ABS CDO management space. Cohen Chief Executive Chris Ricciardi said last week that he anticipates the company to close at least eight ABS CDOs this year. Viola's departure from Merrill coincides with last week's completion of the merger of asset manager BlackRock and Merrill Lynch Investment Advisors.
CIFG hired Avi Oster as managing director and head of U.S. structured finance, commercial assets. Oster joins CIFG from Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein where he was a director in its debt principal finance and securitization group. Oster focused mostly on new asset classes and off-the-run asset securitizations. Prior to Dresdner, Oster held senior origination positions at a number of financial institutions such as Calyon, Societe Generale, PNC and Chemical Bank. The new hire began his career at Standard & Poor's where he was a member of the rating agency's securitization and ABCP groups. Oster reports to Andrew Dym, managing director, head of global structured finance and capital markets group. In a company release, Dym stated, "We are pleased to have Avi join our growing platform and look forward to CIFG benefiting from his strong background and experience in the commercial asset securitization field."
Jones Day has hired CDO and structured finance lawyer Edward O'Connell to join its growing CDO team as a partner. O'Connell left Schulte Roth & Zabel's CDO group, where he was a partner focusing on both cash and synthetic CDOs. The hire is a "clear demonstration that Jones Day has arrived in the CDO space," Glenn Arden, a partner at Jones Day said last week. Arden, O'Connell and Mark Sisitsky now make up the CDO and securitization at Jones Day. The firm also recently hired derivatives specialist Joel Laub, formerly of Morgan Lewis, as counsel.
Robert Cunningham was named a partner and co-chair of the global finance practice group at the law firm of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher. Cunningham was most recently the co-chair of the lending and structured finance practice at Jones Day, where he was partner since 1995. Prior to that, he was a principal financing partner with Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson. In his new role, he will oversee a group of approximately 60 attorneys focused on a wide variety of debt and structured finance transactions, including leveraged loans, high yield bond offerings, mezzanine, project finance, equipment financings, restructurings and securitizations. According to Gibson Dunn, the firm handled finance transactions with an aggregate value of $89 billion last year.
Radian Group last week announced the appointment of Teresa Bryce as executive vice president, general counsel and secretary, replacing Howard Yaruss, who is leaving the company. Bryce will report directly to S.A. Ibrahim, Radian's chief executive officer. "Teresa brings a strong and impressive background to Radian. Her significant legal and mortgage industry experience will be a great benefit to the company, and I am pleased to welcome her to the Radian team," Ibrahim said in a release. Bryce comes to Radian from Nexstar Financial Corp., where she served as general counsel, senior vice president and secretary. Before Nexstar, the new hire was general counsel for Bank of America Mortgage and held other senior legal leadership roles for PNC Mortgage Corp. and Prudential Home Mortgage Co. Bryce also serves on the board of directors of the Mortgage Bankers Association, and has served on the consumer advisory council of the Federal Reserve and Fannie Mae National Advisory Council.
The Royal Bank of Scotland has appointed Eugene Dimitriou, who was formerly a director at Morgan Stanley, to focus on cross product coverage of U.K. insurers. The new hire joins RBS's London's office as head of the firm's alternative risk transfer operations. Dimitriou reports to Guy Miller, who is head of the company's financial institutions advisory and solutions group, Dimitriou's task is to help insurers and reinsurers access the capital markets to offset risk or sell their insured liabilities to specialist investors, including hedge funds. Dimitriou is joining the company after gaining approval from the U.K.'s Financial Services Authority.
Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP announced last week the hiring of Steven Lofchie as a partner in New York. Lofchie will serve as co-chairman of the securities and financial institutions regulation department. Previously, he was a partner at Davis Polk & Wardwell. Lofchie's clients include large financial institutions, specialized securities firms, banks, and hedge funds. He looks at the full range of statutory and regulatory requirements affecting financial institutions, products and trading markets, including organizational structure sales practices and trading procedures. Aside from his regulatory expertise, Lofchie focuses on the area of derivatives, particularly over-the-counter financial products. He also works regularly with various industry trade groups.
Fitch Ratings is set to acquire a stake in Malaysian Rating Corp. Bhd (MARC) after both parties signed a memorandum of understanding setting out broad principles on which the former may purchase an equity stake in MARC. MARC was incorporated in October 1995. It started operations in June 1996 and was officially launched in September. Its shareholders are major life and general insurance companies, stockbrokers and discount houses in Malaysia. MARC rates corporates and corporate debt issues, including Islamic capital market instruments, ABS, as well as financial strength ratings of financial institutions and insurance companies.
The Bond Market Association announced last week the finalization of the standardized format for monthly electronic trustee reports used in CDOs. The BMA worked with its members and other CDO market participants, including all four major U.S. rating agencies, to develop the format. Previously, this format was released in draft form in October last year for industry comment. The new format improves the efficiency, transparency, and usefulness of reporting on CDOs by providing for a standardized, machine readable data file that will allow market participants to more efficiently process the significant data that are provided in reports on CDO deals. With the new format, an end user could process and manipulate data files from any participating trustee with a single import process. The BMA is recommending that CDO trustees implement this standardized format and start producing compliant data file by the end of the first quarter of 2007.
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