LatAm ABS professional Erick Hernandez has been hired by Miami-based Alsis Funds as a vice president. The equity fund focuses on Latin American ABS, in particular residential mortgages (performing and non-performing), auto loans and personal loans. Alsis manages the Alsis Latin America Fund, which has $52 million of LP equity from global institutional investors, in addition to $100 million in preferred equity from the U.S. government's Overseas Private Investment Corp. The fund is looking to raise an additional $100 million. Hernandez had been at Standard Bank until December of last year. Prior to Standard, he was at Deutsche Bank's Mexican office in the securitized group.
Market reports have indicated that seven London partners at Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft have left the firm for Paul Hastings. The partners leaving the firm are Karl Clowry, Conor Downey, Michelle Duncan, Justin Jowitt, Tom O'Riordan, Christian Parker and Charles Roberts. A source familiar with the situation said that Cadwalader's London office, which has also been hit by falling revenues, might opt to shut down operations at its Strand location.
American Capital Agency Corp. (AGNC) appointed Gary Kain as its senior vice president and chief investment officer effective Jan. 26. Kain succeeds Russell Jeffrey, who will be pursuing the full-time management of Providence Investment Management. Jeffrey will remain a senior advisor to AGNC. Kain was most recently senior vice president of investments and capital markets at Freddie Mac. He was also senior vice president of mortgage investments and structuring at Freddie Mac from February 2005 to April 2008. His group was responsible for managing all of the GSE's mortgage investment activities for the company's $700 billion retained portfolio. Previously, Kain was also the head trader in Freddie Mac's securities sales and trading group, where he was responsible for managing all trading decisions including REMIC structuring and underwriting, hedging all mortgage positions, income generation and risk management. Before his promotion to head trader in 1995, Kain served as a senior trader at Freddie Mac, responsible for managing the adjustable-rate mortgage and REMIC sectors. He joined Freddie Mac in 1988 as an analyst in the financial research department. Kain has also been appointed as a senior vice president and managing director of AGNC's affiliate, American Capital, and will be based in American Capital's Bethesda, Maryland, home office.
Denver-based asset management and structured finance firm The Chotin Group Corp. has hired Edward Shaoul as executive vice president. As a member of the Chotin executive management team, Shaoul will help in strategy and business development, including sourcing, evaluating, marketing and executing new structured products and transactions. He also heads up investor relations for new and emerging investment opportunities. Shaoul brings more than eight years of experience in investment banking to Chotin. Most recently, he was a director at Denver-based Headwaters MB. Before that, he was a vice president at Allen & Co. and an associate at Goldman Sachs in New York. Shaoul has executed mergers and acquisitions, capital raising and principal investment deals representing more than $20 billion in value.
Cantor Fitzgerald & Co. has hired John Baldo for its debt capital markets team as senior managing director and head of national fixed-income sales. He will be responsible for further building on the firm's rapidly growing primary dealership platform. Baldo will report to Shawn Matthews, executive managing director and head of debt capital markets. Baldo was formerly from UBS, where he was managing director and head of U.S. structured products distribution. Before that, Baldo held several sales management positions, including head of rates sales and MBS/ABS sales. He also was previously with Paine Webber and Merrill Lynch. Cantor's debt capital markets group added nearly a hundred sales and trading professionals in the past year and continues to grow its fixed- income business.
Nixon Peabody hired Jean-Norbert Pontier as a partner in the global finance practice. Pontier will be located in the Paris office and head the firm's finance practice in France. He was previously at Lovells and at Sidley Austin before that. Pontier has focused his practice on banking, corporate finance and structured finance, as well as investment bank and capital markets disputes, with an emphasis on complex finance structures and securitization. "Jean-Norbert's arrival will support the build-out of our finance and private equity practices in Paris as we grow our presence in France to best serve our clients' international business needs," said Arnaud de Senilhes, Paris managing partner.
Jefferies & Co., the principal operating subsidiary of Jefferies Group, hired three senior MBS and ABS institutional sales professionals to the firm's growing fixed-income sales and trading platform. Beth Starr joined the firm as a managing director and will be based in the Stamford, CT office. At Lehman Brothers for the past 18 years, she was most recently a managing director in institutional sales. Before that, she ran product management for ABS, structured credit and CDOs at that firm. Natasha Jacobs and Jason Eynon joined as senior vice presidents based in London and Los Angeles, respectively. Jacobs joins from RBS Greenwich Capital, where she worked for the past 10 years. As part of the firm's U.K.-based unit, Jefferies International, Jacobs will serve European accounts for dollar and non-dollar denominated ABS and MBS securities. She will work with Chander Gupta, who leads the firm's European MBS and ABS practice in London. Before joining Jefferies last October, Gupta was a managing director at Royal Bank of Scotland, where he was in charge of European ABS trading. Eynon joined from UBS in Los Angeles, where he covered West Coast institutional fixed income accounts. He will be working wtih Sasan Soleimani, another senior vice president in MBS/ABS sales and trading, in the Jefferies' coverage of West Coast institutional accounts.
The European Central Bank (ECB) has published a study on covered bonds explaining the basics of the product in detail. In addition, the publication underlined how significant covered bonds have become in the European financial system. Although the market has taken a backseat along with the financial crisis, the product is still said to offer good opportunities for the future. The ECB study additionally pointed out that covered bonds have also proven very solid compared to securitizations, and thus are likely to be promoted more aggressively by the supervisory authorities.
The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision announced last week that it is broadening the mandate of its Accord Implementation Group (AIG) from the current focus on implementation of the Basel II framework. The AIG will be renamed the Standards Implementation Group (SIG) and will concentrate on the implementation of Basel Committee guidance and standards more generally. The group will continue to be chaired by Jose MarÌa Roldan, who is the director general of banking regulation at the Bank of Spain.
Faxtor Securities BV, a Dutch asset manager, plans to set up two funds to buy ABS hurt by the credit crisis. One of the funds will total at least E50 million and will invest in low-rated, high-yielding debt, according to market reports. The fund will target heavily discounted assets, asset classes that are under fire at the moment and Spanish mortgage deals. It might also invest in CDOs. Faxtor is also planning a second fund, totaling at least E150 million, which will invest in highly rated mortgage securities. The funds are expected to be launched in the next couple of months.
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