Two FBR Investment Mana-gement analysts are leaving the firm to start their own mortgage fund, as reported by ASR sister publication IDD. Michael Youngblood and Steve Gaenzler are leaving FBR Investment to start a new investment management and advisory company, and will launch a mortgage opportunities fund that will specialize in mortgage loans and securities. These include bonds of mortgages with and without Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae guarantees. "We expect to commence a new weekly publication in early July from our new company and to continue to share with you our insights into U.S. mortgage and housing markets as we have done since May 15, 1986," said a note to investors written by Youngblood. Youngblood pioneered the analysis of non-agency, interest and principal-only, adjustable-rate and sterling-denominated RMBS in the 1980s. In addition, he is credited with developing the first commercial mortgage conduit, the first option-adjusted spread analytics of CMBS and the first total rate-of-return indexes for CMBS. Before joining the company, Youngblood developed mortgage research units at Banc of America Securities, Chase Securities and Smith Barney. He also served as a director of residential mortgage research and product manager at Salomon Brothers, working for Henry Kaufman and Lewis Ranieri.
Thomas Neary has been named executive vice president and senior managing director of capital markets for Residential Capital, Minneapolis. Neary will report directly to ResCap Non-Executive Chairman Thomas Marano and ResCap Chief Executive Officer Jim Jones. Neary joins ResCap, the mortgage arm of GMAC Financial Services, from Wells Fargo & Co., where he served as executive vice president and head of mortgage capital markets.
Babson Capital Management has chosen Robert Little to head its real estate finance group (REFG) at the end of 2008, where he will assume oversight of a $22 billion portfolio. Little will replace Kenneth Hargreaves, who is retiring after leading REFG since 1991 and after working with the firm's real estate business since 1972. Currently, Little is responsible for the organization, structuring and distribution of high-yield commercial mortgage products, including bridge lending, mezzanine and preferred equity investments at REFG. Additionally, he oversees the firm's role as manager of Babson Mezzanine Realty Investors and as co-manager for two previous mezzanine funds, as well as high-yield real estate investing for MassMutual's general account and third-party clients. Clayton "Chip" Andrews, who joined Babson Capital in March, will assume Little's responsibilities at the end of the year. Previously, Andrews was chief operating officer and partner at Cheslock, Bakker & Associates, a private real estate merchant bank in Stamford, Conn.
Marcus Schuler has joined Markit as managing director of sales and marketing. He will be based in London. The new hire will be responsible for Markit's relationships with regulators, central banks, trade associations and accounting firms. This is a mandate that spans all of the firm's products and services as well as geographic regions. Schuler will report to Shane Akeroyd and Mike Rushmore, global co-heads of sales and marketing at Markit. Schuler was previously at Deutsche Bank, where he was managing director and head of integrated credit marketing in Europe for approximately four years.
Sidley Austin has named 34 new partners in five U.S. offices and seven international offices, effective July 1. The new partners practice in a broad range of global areas, including securitization. Among those with a focus on structured finance and securitization is Xiaowen Qiu who joins Sidley Austin's New York office.
BlackRock has named Curtis Arledge managing director and co-head of U.S. fixed income within the fixed-income management portfolio group. In this new role, Arledge will be responsible for managing fixed-income portfolios, with a sector emphasis on non-agency ABS and MBS. Arledge will report to BlackRock's fixed-income division co-chairs Scott Amero and Peter Fisher. Previously, Arledge served as global head of fixed income at North Carolina-based Wachovia, where he worked for 12 years.
Gatehouse Bank appointed Mourad Mekhail as managing director of institutional wealth management. Mekhail will report directly to Ewa Gracey, head of distribution. In his new position, Mekhail will be heading up the placement team for institutional wealth management products, which include structured instruments and fund products, catering primarily to a client base of Islamic institutional investors and sophisticated quasi-institutional (private office) investors. The institutional wealth management team will focus initially on two key business areas: long-only, asset-based funds such as real estate and private equity, and structured products, including indices-linked collateral. Mekhail comes to Gatehouse from Merrill Lynch Bank Suisse. He was also previously director of wealth management at UBS AG's Cairo, Egypt, office.
Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis has named Philip Cedar as partner in the financial services practice of the firm's New York office. Cedar joins the firm from Bear Stearns, where he was a senior managing director in the company's legal department and a group practice leader for the mortgage and ABS divisions. Cedar, a lawyer with experience in mortgage products, securities and mortgage litigation and investigations, has counseled different financial institutions and professionals on matters such as structuring and securities trading and financing. Cedar also has experience with underwriting and trading fixed-income products, including corporate debt and structured securities and complex repurchase agreements.
PMI Mortgage Insurance Co. promoted John Hanken to assistant vice president of pricing, where he will oversee all U.S. structured transaction and mortgage insurance pricing, pricing model development and financial engineering. Hanken joined PMI in 2004 as manager of quantitative applications and later became director of portfolio management, where he managed profitability forecasts, business segment analysis, portfolio composition development and tolerances. Before PMI, Hanken held positions at Charles Schwab & Co. and Transamerica Corp.
Liquid Realty Partners has hired John Arens in the newly created position of director. Arens will head both day-to-day operations and strategic planning responsibilities at the firm. Before Liquid Realty, Arens was a vice president at publicly traded mortgage real estate investment trust Redwood Trust. He managed the REIT's residential investment services and was responsible for the development and implementation of operating systems and strategic planning. He also held senior management roles with Redwood's mortgage conduit subsidiary. Previously, Arens was a managing director at Dorado Corp., a privately held enterprise software provider for large banks and lenders. Before Dorado, he was a mortgage transaction manager at Countrywide Securities Corp.
Societe Generale Asset Management (SGAM) appointed Olivier Lecler as CEO of its subsidiary, SGAM Alternative Investments, effective June 1. In January 2006, Lecler joined SGAM Group as head of finance and operations, then as deputy to the deputy general manager, operations. He was also chairman and CEO of SGAM Banque, the banking entity within SGAM Group that specializes in structuring for alternative investments. In 1996, he joined Societe Generale Group as a strategic studies manager in the finance and development division and in 1999 was appointed finance and development director of the subsidiary Fimatex, now Boursorama, of which he became deputy managing director in 2003.
Karl Clowry and Jackson Taylor, both members of the financial restructuring department in the London branch of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, have been made partners at the firm. Clowry focuses on debt restructuring and corporate refinancing, concentrating on large cross-border transactions usually involving complex capital structured financings. Taylor is a corporate insolvency lawyer focusing on cross-border corporate restructuring. He now primarily acts for institutional creditors and ad hoc creditors' committees on restructuring financially distressed companies outside of formal insolvency proceedings.
Cantor Real Estate has named Rodney Montag executive managing director, according to New York-based Cantor Fitzgerald. Launched in May, Cantor Real Estate is pursuing investment opportunities in select real estate sectors, including distressed real estate investment loans with an emphasis on development and redevelopment assets. Montag will lead the group along with Executive Managing Director Andrew Stark, with whom Montag worked at WCI Communities for over 10 years. Before Cantor, Montag was vice president of acquisitions for WCI Communities, formerly Spectrum Communities, where he was responsible for the company's new business development.
Genworth Financial has altered its organizational chart so that the reporting responsibility of the head of its U.S. mortgage insurance business has changed, according to published reports. Executive Vice President Tom Mann will now concentrate on leading the international segment. President of U.S. mortgage insurance Kevin Schneider will no longer report to Mann, and will report instead to Michael Fraizer, Genworth's chairman and chief executive.
Standard & Poor's has lowered its financial strength rating on the financial guaranty business of Radian Group, which includes Radian Asset Assurance, to A' from AA,' and the rating remains on CreditWatch with negative implications, according to a release from the rating agency. The rating on the U.K. division of Radian Asset Assurance was also lowered to A' from AA' and is on negative watch. The downgrade was prompted by the dramatic decrease from $14.4 billion in volume for 1Q07 to $2.6 billion in 1Q08. Additionally, Radian exited its CDO business lines and experienced significant impact from the disrupted mortgage market in the reinsurance business. S&P's credit analyst Robert Green voiced the concerns surrounding Radian, stating that its "business prospects and financial flexibility have declined" and that there is ongoing uncertainty regarding its position and ownership, direct municipal business line and growth for the reinsurance business. Green attributed the uncertainty Radian faces to mortgage-related losses, which Radian unsuccessfully planned to help amend by looking into a full or partial sale of the company; this potential sale, however, is still a major consideration.
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