Churchill Pacific Asset Management, the CDO asset management arm of Churchill Financial, announced the promotion of three senior executives. In addition to his current role as director of research, Stephen Ahearn has been promoted to co-president of the firm. John Casparian also takes a co-president position as well as the title of director of operations and administration. Kevin Hickam moves up to co-president and director of portfolio management. The three have worked together for over 15 years at the Los Angeles-based firm, formerly known as Centre Pacific until it was acquired by Churchill in September 2006 and prior to that, at Transamerica Investment Services. The firm also announced the resignation of Heather Creeden, who has left to pursue other opportunities. She was previously head of asset management.
Chotin Asset Management hired Eric Knab and Isaia Carucci to assist with monitoring its growing CDO portfolios.
Knab joined Chotin as a quantitative analyst. His responsibilities include providing extensive research support and credit analysis with an emphasis in RMBS. Knab was a senior financial analyst at Colorado-based Collegeinvest before he joined Chotin. Prior to Collegeinvest, Knab was vice president of analytics and research at the Murray Hill Co. He worked in the company's jumbo prime and subprime MBS portfolio.
Carucci joined Chotin as a credit and surveillance analyst. He is a certified financial analyst with more than 10 years of experience in the investment community. Carucci was previously a partner and managing marketing analyst at Snowski, which
specialized in Eurodollar Treasury bond future markets. He also spent four years at Societe Generale as a floor trader.
Merrill Lynch recruited Brian Lin, who worked at Nomura Securities, as an ARM and fixed-rate structurer. Lin, who worked at Lehman Brothers before joining Nomura Securities, reports to Charles Macintosh, a director there.
General Electric announced the appointment of 10 new officers last week. Among the new additions is Alec Burger, who will join GE Commercial Finance as a vice president in its North America lending real estate division. Previously, Burger was managing director in the U.K. for GE Real Estate Europe, senior vice president for real estate business development and the quality leader at GE Capital Solutions. Burger has been with GE for more than 16 years.
Also moving up is Kristi Colburn, who becomes vice president in GE Capital Markets corporate financial services. Prior to her new role, Colburn held a number of capital markets positions at GE Commercial Finance, including business leader, securitization, and chief risk officer.
Mark Hutchinson becomes vice president of GE Real Estate Asia, after previously holding several high-ranking positions within the company, including president of GE Real Estate - Asia Pacific, head of capital markets at GE Capital Solutions and managing director of the Commercial Finance Capital Markets group in Europe and Asia. He has been with GE for over 13 years.
Bear Stearns reportedly tapped Thomas Marano, global head of mortgages and asset-backed securities, last week to help manage the $1.6 billion bailout of its High Grade Structured Credit Strategies Fund. Michael Winchell, chief operating officer of Bear Wagner Specialists and previously chief risk officer for the firm in the 1990s, will also help to sell the hedge fund's assets. The two will be working alongside Richard Marin, head of Bear Stearns Asset Management, and Ralph Cioffi, senior managing director and portfolio manager for the funds. The firm said it would not bail out its second, more highly leveraged fund. Calls to a spokeswoman for Bear Stearns were not returned by press time.
Eurohypo hired Ashan Ellahi as the head of its new business unit, European structured finance. He will start in September. Ellahi is moving from HSBC, where he heads the European real estate business and numerous teams in Asia and the Middle East.
At Eurohypo, Ellahi's responsibilities will mainly focus on building individual complex financial transactions for clients, including syndications and mezzanine solutions. The new business unit will combine parts of Eurohypo's European real estate investment banking and its European debt capital market origination. At the same time, the group will strengthen the company's proximity to its customers, allowing the firm to provide customers with the entire value-creation chain of modern real estate banking, Eurohypo said.
Wilmington Trust appointed Patricia Evans to fill the company's position on the board of directors at the American Securitization Forum (ASF). She has been at Wilmington since 1981. On July 1, 2007, Evans will begin a two-year term on the ASF board. She has been actively involved with ASF since 2004, has served on the planning committee for the forum's first meeting and was a member of the subcommittee to study Regulation AB. Evans is responsible for marketing CCS's fiduciary and agency services to corporations, municipalities, and financial institutions throughout the U.S. and in several offshore jurisdictions at Wilmington Trust.
Countrywide Financial was on the subprime meltdown rumor mill last week when word spread that some of the company's offices were raided by federal investigators.
Countrywide denied any knowledge of the incident and referred ASR to its public statement: "Countrywide has become aware of reports today that federal investigators have raided one or more of our offices. We are unaware of any such activity taking place and at this time we believe these rumors to be unfounded."
Standard & Poor's released a report last week that looked at delinquencies in prime jumbo deals, comparing the jumbo deals it rated for the past seven years. The report showed an uptick in delinquencies for the 2006 vintage. Looking at the past year of performance, total delinquencies for 2006 vintage prime jumbo mortgages were at 2.20% and delinquencies for this year approached levels seen in the 2000 vintage.
The rating agency also said that although the increase in delinquencies and losses has been pronounced for the recent 2006 vintage, overall cumulative losses have stayed comparatively low, especially compared with S&P's required B loss coverage levels for prime jumbo-rated deals. Analysts said it remains to be seen if this performance trend will continue as the 2006 vintage matures.
American Securitization Forum, Financial Services Round-table, HPC, Mortgage Bankers Association, and Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association sent a letter to Senate Banking Committee Chair Christopher Dodd, House Financial Services Committee Chair Barney Frank and ranking members Spencer Bachus and Richard Shelby outlining their collective review on market and regulatory responses
in addressing subprime mortgage lending issues.
The letter stated that the interests of the mortgage market are aligned with borrowers. The organizations believe that policy changes should be made to balance consumer protection with the preservation of mortgage credit to qualified borrowers.
The organizations support clearer consumer disclosure, education and counseling. The letter addresses the restrictions on loan products and mandated loan modifications, and also says that the assignee's liability could result in reduced availability of mortgage credit. The organizations are working to ensure that borrowers understand their mortgage loans and financing options to keep them in their homes.
The National Association of Mortgage Professionals, a newly formed group, announced last week that it plans to aid the mortgage industry and its professionals by raising standards and affirming consumer confidence. The association said that its seal, Mortgage M, will serve as the gold stamp of approval for the industry and become synonymous with consumer trust and confidence. The golden stamp of approval is part of a program that will qualify mortgage and loan professionals, so that the consumer will feel adequately informed when getting a loan. The program requires all industry professionals to pass a series of credential checks to verify that they have a license, they are in good standing, they are
continuing their education in the field, they abide and promote the code of ethics and they have passed a background check.
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