Head of securitization research for Europe Ganesh Rajendra is no longer at Deutsche Bank, according to people close to the situation. The bank recently cut 900 jobs both in Europe and in the U.S., including those in securitization. The European securitization research publications from Deutsche will still be published as usual despite Rajendra's departure. A spokesman from the bank declined to comment on this personnel move.
Gulf Stream Asset Management is establishing a credit dislocation fund and a multi-strategy credit hedge fund. In conjunction with this announcement, the firm has opened a New York office and tapped CDO market veteran Mark Zusy to manage the firm's New York office as chief financial officer. Sukai Liu was appointed head of hedge fund portfolio management. Zusy joins Gulf Stream with more than 25 years of capital markets experience, including senior roles in credit- and mortgage-related securitization products, structured products and primary capital markets and derivative businesses. Previously, Zusy was with Lehman Brothers, most recently as managing director in the CDO banking group, before leaving in May 2007. Liu was founder and president of Visor Alternative Investments, a multi-strategy credit and relative value investment manager. He was also managing director and chief investment officer of CooperNeff Advisors and head of alternative credit of Fischer Francis Trees and Watts, both subsidiaries of BNP Paribas. Earlier this year, Istithmar World Capital (IWC), the private equity and alternative investment arm of Istithmar World, acquired a majority stake in Gulf Stream. IWC is headquartered in Dubai, UAE, with offices in Shanghai, China and New York. The firm has invested in more than 35 companies with total capital deployed in excess of $3.5 billion in the four years since it began business.
Babson Capital Management is ramping up global distribution with the establishment of the global business development group, as well as the hiring of a new global sales head and its first sales leader for Australia. Thomas Finke, chairman and chief executive officer of Babson Capital, established the global business development group, which is responsible for sales, client management, marketing and product development, and has selected Anthony Sciacca to lead it. Sciacca, managing director, is also the head of the firm's middle market bank loan business for its U.S. bank loan team in Charlotte and has been with Babson Capital since 2006. Reporting to Sciacca is Jean Fleischhacker, managing director, who leads global sales and the client management team and recently joined the firm from JPMorgan/Bear Stearns; Paula Ryan, managing director, who leads marketing and consultant relations; and Linda Carstens, managing director, who leads strategic product development. In addition, the firm has hired Duncan Robertson, managing director, to lead sales for Australia. Robertson reports to Fleischhacker and is the first hire for the firm's new branch office in Sydney, which is called Babson Capital Australia. Sciacca has more than 15 years of industry experience and joined Babson Capital from Wachovia Securities, where he was head of origination for the CLO and corporate CDO businesses. He previously worked in structured products at Bear Stearns and Bank of America and was a consultant with Andersen Consulting (Accenture). Fleischhacker was recently with JPMorgan and previously at Bear Stearns, where she was senior managing director and head of structured product sales. Ryan joined Babson Capital in February 2007. She previously was with Hartford Investment Management for eight years in marketing for both institutional and retail investment products, and before that worked in institutional marketing for Prudential Investments. Carstens joined Babson Capital in 2004 from State Street Research and Management, where she managed large corporate and foundation/endowment relationships. Robertson was responsible for all fixed-income distribution activities for Merrill Lynch in Australia and New Zealand since early 2006.
Walkers SPV, the SPV service provider of the Walkers Group, has appointed David Lloyd as senior vice president. Lloyd's appointment - he starts work with Walkers SPV in January 2009 - represents the final stage in building the group's new upper-management structure. Lloyd has experience in the investment banking industry, most recently with Citigroup, where he was a director on the structured products desk. He brings expertise to Walkers SPV in all areas of structured finance, including issuance vehicles, product wrappers and structured products for institutional and retail investors.
Vision Capital Partners has hired Andrew Lutz as managing director, where he will head all of the firm's fixed-income initiatives, effective immediately. This is a new position at the firm. Lutz will report to the firm's co-founders, Adam Benowitz and Randy Cohen. Previously, Lutz spent more than 15 years at Susquehanna International Group, where he eventually headed the firm's fixed-income and structured products businesses.
Nomura Securities International (NSI) tapped Paul Sheard as a managing director to fill a newly created position, global chief economist and head of economic research. Before NSI, Sheard was a managing director of economic research at Barclays Capital. Prior to that, he spent eight years at Lehman Brothers, most recently as global chief economist. Sheard spent 17 years in Japan and served as Lehman's chief economist for Asia earlier in his tenure. At NSI, he will be based in New York and will report to Hideyuki Takahashi, head of global research, and Craig Phares and Koji Wada, co-heads of equity. Sheard's responsibilities will include managing Nomura's national and regional economists and coordinating economic forecasts and outlooks.
Tribune Co. secured a $50 million letter-of-credit DIP loan from Barclays last Monday, the day it filed for Chapter 11 protection. The company already had a $300 million securitized revolver in place with Barclays, which the bank has agreed to extend. The extension of the revolving period allows for further liquidity during bankruptcy and is somewhat unusual, as the credit was provided to a securitized special purpose vehicle backed by receivables, rather than to the entity that declared bankruptcy, a source familiar with the transaction said. Such receivable securitizations are typically liquidated upon a bankruptcy filing. Barclays currently has $225 million outstanding under the revolver, with a commitment of as much as $300 million, the source said. The bank will amend the facility to allow continued revolving funding of as much as $300 million for an additional 120 days. Tribune, which was purchased last December by real estate investor Sam Zell, has $7.6 billion worth of assets and $12.9 billion in debt, according to court filings.
Fitch Ratings launched a CMBS performance analytics service for EMEA. The enhanced surveillance pages on the Fitch research Web site now provide advanced EMEA CMBS performance metrics and analysis in a standardized form. Each transaction's surveillance page offers a single source of data analysis and credit opinion, tracking current loan and portfolio data against the original characteristics of the transaction. The data can be used for surveillance purposes in the presented form or can be an input into additional analysis. The enhanced performance service is currently available for all U.K. CMBS transactions, with Continental European CMBS deals scheduled to follow in 1Q09.
Australia-based Macquarie Bank has sold $310 million of securities through its SMART Series 2008-3 trust lease securitization, the third by the bank this year. It is the only investment bank that has managed to get any investors interested in public ABS deals at the moment. The bank sold the deal in eight tranches, of which the first three are rated 'P1' (with a final maturity of less than a year), 'Aaa' and 'Aa1' by Moody's Investors Service. Early price talk on the bond was for a spread of 80-something basis points over the 30-day swap rate on the A1 tranche and mid 200s on the A2 tranche. The Australian federal government has devised a $2 billion deal with the country's four major banks to provide financing for car dealers. A special purpose vehicle (SPV) has been established to provide liquidity to car dealer financiers that have encountered funding difficulties as a result of the global financial crisis. Liquidity will be provided through the securitization of eligible loans given to car dealers. The government will provide support to the SPV through a guaranty expected to cover a minor proportion of the securities issued. The SPV will be implemented by Jan. 1.
Mayer Brown said last week it had successfully represented a secured creditor of the largest-ever SIV, Sigma Finance, which collapsed at the beginning of October with receivers appointed shortly thereafter. The firm represented its client in relation to a dispute over the correct interpretation of a Security Trust Deed (STD), which governs the rights of secured creditors to payment following the SIV's collapse. The dispute concerned secured creditors' rights to payment during an initial period of 60 days, defined in the STD as the realization period. The receivers applied to the High Court for directions and invited interested creditors to assist the court by arguing for the STD's contrary interpretations. The law firm's client holds medium-term notes due to be paid by Sigma in October. Mayer Brown argued that the STD required creditors to be paid in full on their due dates during the realization period in priority to later maturing creditors. Three other creditors argued that once the SIV had collapsed, the STD required the assets of Sigma Finance to be shared out pro-rata between some or all of the creditors regardless of their maturity dates.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that its Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) for October fell 0.7% to 88.9. This was less than the expected decline of 3% to 86.5. Additionally, September's number was revised slightly higher to 89.5 from a previously reported 89.2. By region, the PHSI rose in the South and Northeast and declined in the West and Midwest. "Despite the turmoil in the economy, the overall level of pending home sales has been remarkably stable over the past year, holding in a generally narrow range," Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, noted. "We did see a spike in August when mortgage conditions temporarily improved, which underscores two things - there is a pent-up demand, and access to safe, affordable mortgages will bring more buyers into the market."
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