South Africa's Standard Bank in London recently hired David McCaig as global head of securitization. McCaig had been at WestLB from July 1998 until the spring of this year. At WestLB, he headed up asset securitization and commodity finance and oversaw, among other things, a thriving business in financial future flows from banks in Turkey and Kazakhstan. Prior to WestLB, David spent seven years at Morgan Grenfell and Deutsche Bank in London, where he was responsible for the origination and structuring of cross-border receivables financings in the emerging markets. It will be interesting to see whether Standard's hire of McCaig marks an effort to build up business in emerging markets. The bank had, in the spring of 2006, made a short-lived attempt to beef up its Latin American operation out of New York, hiring Christian Corcino from Moody's Investors Service and Erick Hernandez from Deutsche. In May of 2007, Corcino left for Deutsche, and Hernandez was let go last December.
Duff & Phelps Corp. has hired John Schrader as a managing director in its financial engineering team at the firm's New York office. Schrader has over 19 years of experience in structured products, risk management, fixed income, capital markets and investment banking. Schrader was formerly at Morgan Stanley, where he was a managing director and head of global risk management in the securitized products group. During his time at Morgan Stanley, he helped ABS, CDO, MBS, CMBS and proprietary traders with purchasing and selling, structuring, hedging and risk management activities. Schrader also developed valuation processes and created analytical tools for pricing complex derivatives. Before his role at Morgan Stanley, Schrader was a senior managing director at Bear Stearns where he was in charge of market risk management for the mortgage group. Schrader has expertise in various collateral types, including prime, subprime, Alt-A, scratch and dent loans, commercial loans, Chapter 13 claims and tax liens.
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP and Holters & Elsing (Partnerschaft von Rechtsanwalten) have merged their partnerships. The merged partnership will operate in Germany as Orrick Holters & Elsing. The combined firm will have 55 lawyers in three offices in Germany and 1,100 lawyers - over 250 throughout Europe - in 21 offices across Asia, Europe and North America. Over one-third of the firm's lawyers will work outside North America. Arno Frings, former managing partner of Holters & Elsing, will serve in the newly created position of partner-in-charge of Germany, and will have a seat on Orrick's European supervisory committee.
The offshore law firm Appleby said it plans to extend its global network with offices opening in Dubai and in Zurich. The expansion will provide the firm's clients with greater access to high-growth Middle East, Asian, Indian and African capital and to private bank and institutional services in Switzerland, Appleby said in a statement. The new offices will begin operations in early 2009. The Dubai office will be staffed by two partners, including Jeanne Bartlett, head of the firm's global structured finance practice, and an assistant. The office will focus on investment funds, private equity, structured finance, major projects, property and private client services. Appleby said it had a significant inflow of work from the GCC region at the Dubai office and would ensure that this is expanded directly into the core offshore markets that provide its Middle East clients with a significant choice of offshore jurisdiction. The Zurich office will focus on both corporate and private wealth markets, providing private banks, wealth management and other institutions, as well as Middle East- and Asian-based clients whose funds are managed in Switzerland, with direct access to high-level offshore services. On the corporate side, the office will focus on the insurance and funds sectors to offer direct access to the firm's specialist expertise in the Bermuda and Cayman markets. The office will be initially staffed by a partner and an assistant.
Petrina Dawson, senior managing director and general counsel at Standard & Poor's, has left the company. Dawson was appointed as general counsel of the rating agency in mid-1999, replacing Joanne Rose who was then promoted to executive managing director for S&P's structured finance ratings unit. Dawson joined S&P in 1991.
Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director James Lockhart announced the appointments of new non-executive chairmen of the Boards of Directors of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. John Koskinen will be the non-executive chairman of Freddie Mac while Philip Laskawy will serve as the non-executive chairman of Fannie Mae. FHFA called for the formation of new boards for both GSEs to ensure "solid leadership and good corporate governance." Koskinen has extensive public and private sector experience, including serving as president and chief executive officer of Palmieri Co. from 1979 to 1993. There he participated in the restructuring and turnarounds of many companies, including the Penn Central Transportation Co. and Mutual Benefit, the largest insurance company in history to fail. Most recently, Koskinen served as president of the United States Soccer Foundation. Before that, he served as deputy mayor and city administrator of the District of Columbia, where he was responsible for the operation of all city departments. Koskinen has also occupied several
senior positions with the federal government, including deputy director for management in the Office of Management and Budget, where he coordinated the work of the chief financial officers, chief information officers and inspectors general of all government agencies.
Stifel Financial Corp. announced that Joseph Sullivan, a director of the firm and head of fixed-income capital markets for the company's principal subsidiary, Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., will resign from these posts to become chief administrative officer of Legg Mason. Sullivan joined Stifel in December 2005 in connection with the company's acquisition of the investment banking, research, institutional equity and fixed-income capital markets businesses of Legg Mason.
Following a majority dealer vote, Markit's CDX index rolls will be delayed by one week. The Markit CDX North America Investment Grade index and its related sub-indices will roll on Sept. 29 instead of Sept. 22. This is also true for the Markit CDX North America Crossover, Markit CDX Emerging Markets and Markit CDX Emerging Markets Diversified indices. The Markit CDX North America High Yield index and its related sub-indices will roll on Oct. 6 instead of Sept. 29. Meanwhile, the Markit iTraxx European investment-grade and crossover indices will now roll on Sept. 29 instead of Sept. 22 as initially planned. The decision to call a vote was caused by the significantly higher trading and clearing activity seen in today's CDS markets. Markit's iTraxx Asia, Japan and Australia indices will now roll into Series 10 on Sept. 29 instead of Sept. 22 as previously planned.
Gross lending in the U.K. totaled an estimated £21.8 billion ($39.7 billion) in August, a 12% fall from July and a 36% fall from August 2007, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. This is the lowest monthly figure since April 2005 and the lowest August figure since 2002. Exceptionally slow housing market turnover and less-than- expected remortgaging activity will keep monthly lending subdued in the immediate future. Michael Coogan, CML director general, said that the figures reflect the heightened uncertainty for both lenders and consumers in the mortgage market at present. "Lenders are uncertain about future sources of funding and the cost of funding, while consumers are unsure about how much further and for how long house prices will continue to decline," Coogan said.
The Bank of England announced last week that the Special Liquidity Scheme would be extended from Oct. 20 to January 30, 2009. The central bank also noted that it will publish its consultation document on proposals for permanent reforms of its market operations at a later date, suggesting that changes may be afoot for repo.
Moody's Investors Service recent downgrade of U.K. mortgage lender Bradford & Bingley to 'P-3' means that the borrower can no longer add new mortgage collateral to its Aire Valley master trust. With a ratings cut to 'Baa3', the company is also on the cusp of having to notify borrowers of the loans' sale to the trust and compulsory specific identification of loan files and deeds. Moody's left the company on a negative outlook. The company is left with limited funding options with respect to the trust, but it recently completed a covered bond offering that is expected to help keep its balance sheet levered. According to one of the later deals' offering circulars, the company may have a bit of latitude to introduce some collateral, but such an introduction requires the consent of the rating agencies as well as the trustee.
The Financial Accounting Standards Board released three exposure drafts last week. These are: the Accounting for Transfers of Financial Assets, which is an amendment of both FASB Statement No. 140, the Disclosures About Transfers of Financial Assets and Interests in Variable Interest Entities, and the Amendments to FASB Interpretation No. 46(R). The first exposure draft will amend Statement 140 to revise and clarify the derecognition requirements for transfers of financial assets, as well as the initial measurement of beneficial interests that are received as proceeds by a transferor that are related to financial asset transfers. This proposed Statement would also enhance the disclosure requirements to offer users of financial statements greater transparency regarding transfers of financial assets. Further, it would ensure a transferor's continuing involvement with such transferred financial assets. The purpose of the second proposed FASB Staff Position (FSP) is to require improved disclosures by public entities until the pending amendments to FASB Statement No. 140, Accounting for Transfers and Servicing of Financial Assets and Extinguishments of Liabilities, and FASB Interpretation No. 46, Consolidation of Variable Interest Entities, which was revised December 2003 - are effective. This proposed FSP would amend Statement 140 and Interpretation 46(R) to require enhanced disclosures by public entities regarding financial asset and interest transfers in variable interest entities. The third proposed Statement would amend FASB Interpretation No. 46 (revised December 2003), called the Consolidation of Variable Interest Entities. This requires ongoing assessments to determine whether an entity is a variable interest entity and whether an enterprise is the primary beneficiary of a variable interest entity, the FASB stated.
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