Nelson Soares, a longtime managing director at Lehman Brothers who led its U.S. securitization group has left the company. Soares was also active with the American Securitization Forum and was elected treasurer in a term that expires in 2010. In conjunction with his departure from Lehman, Soares resigned from his position as ASF treasurer.
After 17 years with the commercial real estate finance team at Moody's Investors Service, Managing Director Tad Philipp has decided to take early retirement. His last full week at Moody's will be this week, "although I plan to stay actively engaged for several more months on a part-time basis to facilitate the transition," Philipp said in a statement. "It's been fun helping build the CMBS industry from the ground up, but I am looking forward to taking a break after my long run with Moody's. I am very proud of Moody's CREF team, and I am confident they are up to the task of managing through these challenging market conditions. Of all this team's accomplishments, I am especially proud that we were the first movers on declining credit quality." Philipp said that after a break, he plans to explore opportunities in the CRE sector. "Thank you for your support over the years, and I hope to stay in touch," he said.
Seyfarth Shaw announced that Peter J. Korda and Andrew M. Pearlstein have been named
co-chairs of the Structured and Real Estate Finance Practice Group, a subgroup of the firm's real estate practice group. The firm said it has been growing the real estate practice group over the past several months to meet the client demand in the commercial real estate market. Korda is a partner in Seyfarth Shaw's New York office with a focus on the structuring and closing of mortgage loan transactions for securitization, as well as conventional acquisition, permanent, interim/bridge, construction and mezzanine loan transactions. He also has experience handling multi-tier, multi-state, cross-defaulted and cross-collateralized transactions. Pearlstein is a partner in Seyfarth Shaw's Boston office. He represents conduit lenders in commercial real estate financings nationally in connection with securitized loan programs. Pearlstein also represents, among other things, financial institutions (including investment banks, hedge funds, banks and insurance companies) in construction, bridge and permanent financings, mezzanine and A/B tiered structures, leasehold financings, capital markets loans, preferred equity structures, participations and syndicated facilities, the acquisition and disposition of loans (collateralized or unsecured) and other structured-finance transactions.
Capital One has received shadow ratings from both Standard & Poor's and Moody's Investors Service for all outstanding classes of all outstanding Capital One Auto Finance Trust and Onyx Acceptance Owner Trust transactions that have wraps provided by Ambac, MBIA, FGIC and XLCA. Although the shadow ratings from S&P are available now, Moody's is expected to publish theirs soon. In order to provide more transparency to investors, Capital One requested the publication of their shadow ratings given current market conditions and the uncertainty surrounding the future of bond insurers. The shadow ratings are aside from the existing ratings on the said deals and do not consider the wraps in the analysis.
RAM Holdings appointed Michael Normile, a former managing director in fixed-income capital markets and head of structured finance for the Americas at HSBC Securities, and Bradley Shuster, president and CEO of PMI Capital Corp., to the firm's board of directors. The vacancies in the board resulted from the resignations of Victor Bacigalupi and Mark Milner effective Feb. 18 and Feb. 22, respectively.
Bert Pijls was appointed country business manager for Citi U.K. Consumer, the bank behind the Citi and Egg consumer brands. He replaces Ian Kerr, who has resigned and will leave Citi after working with Pijls to ensure a smooth transition. Pijls, who has worked at Egg in the past, will move to London March 17 from the Czech Republic where he was also previously Citi's country business manager.
PMI Group has appointed Jon Ballard as vice president of field servicing. Ballard, who is based in Austin, Texas, will work with PMI customers in the mortgage servicing sector to identify and implement best practices in home ownership preservation and loss mitigation. Ballard comes to PMI from Radian Guaranty, where he served most recently as vice president of mortgage risk.
In related company news, PMI Group announced last week that as a result of continued delays in obtaining final year-end 2007 financial results from FGIC Corp., PMI is rescheduling the release of its 4Q07 and full-year 2007 financial results to March 17. On March 3, PMI reported a preliminary fourth-quarter net loss of $236 million in its U.S. mortgage insurance division and said it would file its full results and its annual report on March 12.
Intermediate Capital Group (ICG) appointed Jeff Boswell and Simon Peatfield as portfolio managers in its credit fund management team. The new appointees will report to Dagmar Kent Kershaw, head of credit fund management. They are charged with expanding ICG's trading capability and assisting in the development of new products in leveraged loans and structured credit. Boswell joins ICG from Investec Bank, where he was the head of acquisition finance, and a senior portfolio manager for Investec's Gresham Capital CLO program. Peatfield joins ICG from Prudential M&G, where he was a portfolio manager of a number of synthetic CDOs and a secondary portfolio manager of several multi-asset-class, cash CDOs.
FGIC Corp. sued German bank IKB Deutsche Industriebank AG, alleging that IKB fraudulently exposed it to roughly $1.9 billion in potential liabilities. The firm's unit Financial Guaranty Insurance Co. and its U.K. unit alleged that IKB and its affiliates fraudulently made it assume the risk of potential losses on an IKB off-balance-sheet structured investment vehicle (SIV), according to a complaint filed in the New York State Supreme Court on Monday. FGIC said that it was forced to enter into a commitment agreement in June 2007 under which it could be obligated to take on the credit exposure of the IKB affiliate.
Last week, Ocwen Financial Corp. said it ended talks about an acquisition offer by an investor group led by Chief Executive William Erbey. The company said it did not reach an agreement on the group's proposal to buy all of its outstanding stock for $7 per share in cash, or $437.5 million based on Ocwen's 62.5 million shares outstanding as of Nov. 5. A January filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission stated that Erbey owns about 19.7 million shares, or a 31% stake in the loan servicing firm. The investor group also includes funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management as well as Angelo, Gordon & Co. Ocwen said its special committee will continue to look at its potential options.
Fitch Ratings President and CEO Stephen Joynt sent a letter to MBIA on Monday responding to the bond insurer's letter dated March 7 asking that the rating agency withdraw the firm's IFS ratings. In the letter, Joynt said that Fitch is sympathetic to the "financial and operational stress" that MBIA is going through and is willing to continue its ratings without charge to the bond insurer. Joynt also asked for clarification of MBIA's intentions in terms of cooperating with Fitch's rating process. MBIA requested that Fitch return or destroy key portfolio information and discontinue all use of the said information in proceeding with its rating analysis. Joynt questioned MBIA's intentions, which were stated in the bond insurer's letter to investors dated March 9. "It would appear that rather than work with Fitch,' your intention could be to emasculate our opinion by withholding information and subsequently discredit our opinion as being uninformed," Joynt said. Joynt questioned whether it is the Fitch capital model, rating process or fees that MBIA objects to or if it is that MBIA is "aware we are continuing our analytical review and may conclude that, in our view, MBIA's insurer financial strength is no longer AAA.'"
Berkshire Hathaway's bond insurance unit is now licensed to insure municipal bonds in Florida. This increases to 25 the number of states where the unit can conduct business, according to a UBS report.
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