Societe Generale recruited Jason Kwan as a director in its mortgage-backed securities area, where he reports to Arnaud Denis, managing director of that group. Kwan joined the French bank from Countrywide Securities.

Reggie de Villiers, an executive director at UBS Securities, left in May to join Merrill Lynch, where sources say he will work on one of the investment bank's Latin America joint ventures. He began at UBS in early 2002, one of a group of five bankers led by Shashid Quraishi who joined from Banc of America Securities. Market sources say de Villiers is slated to join Merrill Lynch in about two weeks.

David Jacob, head of Nomura Securities International's fixed-income research department and a member of the firm's fixed-income management committee, recently left the firm after 14 years. He will be taking some time off before deciding his next step, a source said. Jacob was known as one of the pioneers in the CMBS market, and his group was responsible in the 1990s for structuring nearly $20 billion of Nomura's CMBS. Prior to his position at Nomura, Jacob was the head of fixed-income research at JPMorgan and co-head of the RMBS desk. He also headed quantitative analysis at Morgan Stanley from 1983 to 1989.

Primus Guaranty appointed Vince Abruzzini and David Kubie as co-portfolio managers of its triple-A credit derivatives product unit, Primus Financial Products. The two will be responsible for managing all aspects of Primus Financial Products' performance, whose portfolio of credit default swaps has grown to $16.5 billion since its inception in 2002. The firm has also recently expanded from its initial focus on only single-name entities to include tranches and asset-backed securities. Abruzzini and Kubie have been senior credit portfolio managers at Primus since 2002 and 2003, respectively. Paul Diouri has also joined the company as chief risk officer. He will report to Richard Claiden, chief financial officer. Diouri will be responsible for Primus' risk management framework, including enterprise-wide consolidated risk limits, policies and procedures, counterparty risk limits and utilization. Among his other duties, he will establish a Primus Guaranty risk committee, plus assist with capital allocation and risk return analysis, business line performance measurement and evaluation. Diouri joins from TIAA-CREF, where he was managing director of the credit risk management group. Prior to TIAA-CREF, Diouri spent a decade at Natixis, most recently as vice president and manager in the portfolio management group.

Churchill Capital, a subsidiary of Churchill Financial Holdings, opened a new office in Los Angeles. The office will be headed by Christopher T. Daniel, who joins the firm as a managing director. Daniel most recently was a managing director at Praesidian Capital Investors. He has more than 15 years of experience in middle-market lending and private equity investing. Daniel oversees operations in the western U.S. for Churchill Capital. Richard Kim, former vice president for Windjammer Capital, also joins as principal. He has more than 10 years of experience in the middle market. At Windjammer, he oversaw mezzanine and equity investments in LBOs and recapitalizations. Previously, Kim put in a stint at Houlihan Lokey Howard and Zukin, where he worked on a broad range of transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, private placements and merchant banking activities. Churchill Capital is based in Minneapolis, Minn. It originates, structures and manages a portfolio of subordinated loans to private equity-sponsored middle-market companies throughout North America.

Assured Guaranty Ltd. was upgraded to Aaa' by Moody's Investors Service last week, joining five other direct guarantors to be given triple-A stable ratings for insurer financial strength from Moody's, Standard & Poor's and Fitch Ratings.

Fitch Ratings has doubled the size of its European-based emerging market structured finance team to four, in an effort to capitalize on ABS opportunities in the ex-Soviet Union, Turkey and the Gulf states of United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. "The reason for adding two is that the pipeline demands it," said Diana Turner, managing director of the agency's European ABS Group. "The ratings we expect over the next six-to-nine months warranted adding two people."

Jaime Sanz, who now heads the team, previously ran the EMEA sovereign rating group, and, before that, the Latin American sovereign rating group. Prior to Fitch, Sanz worked at Merrill Lynch for five years. Andrei Gozia, who starts Fitch as an associate director, hails from multilateral the International Finance Corp., where he was an analyst in the emerging market securitization team. Sanz and Gozia are joining Antonio Corbi, associated director in London, and Michael Hoelter, a Frankfurt-based director.

Turner said the most promising asset classes were residential mortgages, auto loans, and consumer loans. Indeed, the ex-Soviet Union produced about $2.3 billion in issuance in the first half of the year, up 55% from the same timeframe in 2006. Placement for the second half is expected to maintain that rhythm, if not pick up.

Typically, an emerging market analyst and an analyst from the corresponding asset group work together in rating a structured finance transaction from an emerging market that falls under the European purview. "They'll do different things," Turner said. "Broadly speaking, asset analysis is done in the asset team and liability analysis is covered in the EM team."

CIFG has restructured its senior management. Under the leadership of CEO Jacques Rolfo the monoline's top executives are taking on new responsibilities.

Andrew Dym, currently head of global structured finance and capital markets, will now also be responsible for finance and systems.

John Pizzarelli, currently head of U.S. public finance, will also head up global infrastructure, investor relations and communications.

Michel Rouzioux, head of European operations and reinsurance, will now oversee the management of the monoline's rating agency relationships and special projects.

Daniel Gringauz, formerly vice president and senior analyst in the asset finance group, has left Moody's Investors Service. As of press time there was no word on where Gringauz went.

(c) 2007 Asset Securitization Report and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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