Michael Kanef has moved internally within Moody's Investors Service. Kanef, who was formerly group managing director in ABS, is now the chief regulatory and compliance officer at Moody's. He replaces Jeanne Dering who is retiring. There is no word yet on Kanef's replacement as the rating agency's ABS group is going through a transition period.
Patrick Clerkin, a senior director at Derivative Fitch, recently left the firm to move to Dubai. He will work for a bank based there, company officials confirmed.
Calyon's former global head of CDO structuring, Edouard Bremon, resigned from his position at the bank. Pierre Trecourt, previously based in Hong Kong, has been named global head of credit structuring, according to market reports. Trecourt will report to Benjamin Jacquard, who last month was appointed global head of structured credit markets. Calyon has decided to streamline its structured credit business with the current volatile market environment. Following the new reorganization, Calyon Credit Markets was renamed Calyon Structured Credit Markets.
Cantor Fitzgerald has reportedly hired Rocco Capoccia as director of MBS sales. Capoccia joins from Manchester Square Investment Group, where he was chief executive and director of marketing for alternative investment strategies. He reports to Shawn Matthews, senior managing director and co-head of Cantor's mortgage-backed sales and trading group.
The American Securitization Forum (ASF) named Sanjeev Handa, head of global public markets at TIAA-CREF, as chair. Meanwhile, Robert Palache was elected chairman of the European Securitization Forum (ESF) for 2008. Palache is managing director and the head of European securitization and asset monetization group for Morgan Stanley International in London. He succeeds Philippe Tromp, managing director, Europe, for Financial Security Assurance. Tromp was the ESF's chair for two years and will remain on the association's board and executive committee.
Former MoneyLine Lending Services CEO Evan Gentry has founded G8 Capital, which focuses on buying distressed mortgage portfolios, performing loans, nonperforming loans and real estate. The firm has raised $50 million in capital for that effort, and is bidding 40 to 75 cents on the dollar for portfolios in the $3 million to $25 million range. The Ladera Ranch, Calif.-based firm closed its first portfolio purchase in November and is expecting to close two to three more acquisitions this month.
Algorithmics announced that RenaissanceRe Holdings, a Bermuda-based reinsurer of natural and man-made catastrophes, has selected Algo Risk Service, a Web-based portfolio construction and risk management service, for its risk measuring. Algo Risk allows investors and portfolio managers to measure portfolios against a set of risks and can analyze risk by asset type, credit rating, issuer or industry sector.
Washington Mutual said it will withdraw from subprime lending, closing roughly 190 of 336 home loans centers and sales offices and nine home loans processing and call centers. The bank will also eliminate roughly 2,600 home loans positions, or about 22% of its home loans staff, and 550 corporate and other support positions. The mortgage firm will also close its institutional broker-dealer business, WaMu Capital Corp., as well as its mortgage banker finance warehouse lending operation. These steps will result in about $140 million in additional expenses in the fourth quarter, WaMu said, adding that it is targeting a company-wide noninterest expense at or below $8 billion for 2008. WaMu will also sell convertible preferred stock with aggregate proceeds of roughly $2.5 billion and cut its dividend by more than two-thirds to 15 cents per share from its most recent quarterly dividend rate of 56 cents per share. The mortgage lender also said that it expects its fourth-quarter loan losses to be between $1.5 and $1.6 billion, which is about twice the level of expected fourth-quarter net charge-offs. For 1Q08, loan losses are expected to range from $1.8 to $2 billion.
Freddie Mac will reduce the number of overdue loans it purchases in the MBS it guarantees. The company will now purchase mortgages that are 120 days or more delinquent from pools underlying mortgage participation certifications if the mortgages have been modified, a foreclosure sale occurs, the mortgages are delinquent for 24 months or the cost of guarantee payments to security holders, including advances of interest at the security coupon rate, exceeds the cost of holding the nonperforming loans in its mortgage portfolio.
H&R Block said it is delaying its second-quarter earnings to give its new auditors time to review the firm's numbers, although a much larger loss is expected with the firm's mortgage business dragging it down. A preliminary report stated that H&R Block should have a net loss of $502.3 million, or $1.55 per share, for the quarter ending Oct. 31 versus a loss of $156.5 million, or 49 cents per share, during the same period a year ago. Of that loss, $366.2 million, or $1.13 per share, came from discontinued operations, including much of its Option One Mortgage Corp.
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