Calyon, the corporate and investment banking arm of French bank Credit Agricole Group, made two new additions last week to its U.S. credit markets division. Mariano Goldfischer - who was formerly a high-yield bond, CDS and LCDS trader with Strategic Value Partners - joins the firm's credit markets and CDO trading team focusing on developing loan trading activities, including cash and derivatives trading. He will also be managing the loan TRS trading book and report to Thomas Spitz, head of credit markets and CDO trading Americas. Calyon also hired Alexey Dronov for its cash CDO team to focus on loan structuring. Dronov was previously part of the cash CLO team at Morgan Stanley. "Having successfully built a U.S. ABS CDO platform, we plan to expand our cash CDO structuring activities in the leverage loan space, including both cash and LCDS. We believe our capacity to propose innovative structures and provide high quality execution, coupled with Calyon's expertise in the synthetic space, will enable us to successfully develop a market-leading CLO franchise," Zain Abdullah, head of credit markets and CDO Americas, said in a release. The firm has made 15 hires in the U.S. credit market division in the past year as part of an ongoing development plan.
GE Asset Management (GEAM) announced that Kathryn Karlic, executive vice president and chief investment officer of fixed income, has been named president of sales and marketing for GEAM's institutional asset management business, where she will lead the firm's efforts to partner with institutional investors. Meanwhile, Paul Colonna, who is currently head of fixed-income total return portfolio management, has been named to succeed Karlic as president and chief investment officer of fixed income. In his most recent role, Colonna has had oversight of all fixed-income total rate of return platforms at the firm, including investment-grade credit, high yield, emerging markets, structured products, bank loans, and municipal bonds. He also had a key role in developing the firm's CDO capabilities. In his new role, he will oversee GEAM's more than $100 billion in fixed-income assets and a team of more than 50 fixed-income investment professionals. He has been a part of the GEAM fixed-income team since 2000.
Dewey Ballantine has expanded its financial services practice with a new office in Charlotte, N.C. Partners James Bryant III and W. Todd Stillerman will run the branch. Both were previously partners with Dechert. Bryant's and Stillerman's structured finance practice focuses on structured real estate products and equity investments, including CMBS transactions, real estate CDOs and the securitization of other real estate interests, sale-leaseback, mezzanine financing and syndicated finance transactions. This move complements recent New York structured finance partner additions John Altorelli, Patrick de Carbuccia, Alexander Fraser and Jeffrey Potash and the firm's offering to clients in the commercial loan securitization arena. Bryant is a member of the real estate section and the corporation, banking and business law section of the North Carolina Bar Association, while Stillerman focuses his practice on securitization and real estate capital markets.
CIBC has appointed Leslie Rahl to the bank's board of directors. Rahl is president and founder of New York-based Capital Market Risk Advisors (CMRA), a consulting boutique that specializes in risk management, hedge funds and risk governance. Since 1991, CMRA and its predecessor firm have played an integral role in the evolution of derivatives, structured securities and risk management. She has authored a book on hedge funds and a variety of articles for journals such as Directorship and Bank Accounting and Finance. Before founding CMRA, Rahl spent almost 20 years at Citibank N.A., ending her run there as co-head of derivatives in North America. She is also a member of the board of Fannie Mae.
Wachovia Corp. announced last Tuesday that its portfolio has reached one million credit card customers. The bank terminated its previous joint marketing agreement with MBNA in November 2005 - after MBNA was bought by Bank of America Corp. - and re-entered the credit card business in July 2006. The bank has since launched consumer cards, commercial cards - Nascar's Team Red Bull is considered Wachovia's first commercial credit card customer - and a business credit card product targeting companies with annual revenues of as much as $15 million. "One million card customers is an incredible milestone but also just the beginning," Patti Newcomer-Simmons, director of marketing for Wachovia card services, said in a recent release.
Fitch Ratings downgraded NovaStar Mortgage's residential primary service rating for subprime product to RPS3+' from RPS2-' and removed it from rating watch negative last week. The ratings agency also assigned NovaStar a RSS3+' special servicer rating. The downgrade was a result of the challenging subprime mortgage environment coupled with uncertainty of the conpany's profitability. Novastar also reported in its 10K that the company may fail to satisfy the profitability covenant under one of its warehouse repurchase facilities if the company's GAAP net income - determined on a pre-tax basis - was not greater than $1 for the six months ended March 31, 2007, Fitch said. The company is also seeking a waiver of the covenant and developing contingency plans should that waiver not be granted, the ratings agency said.
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