RBS Greenwich Capital has shed more than 15 capital markets professionals in the last week, according to people familiar with the bank. Among those who exited the firm were Jesse Litvak, a bond trader who joined the company in 1997, and Morris Sachs, a managing director who was head of the company's sovereign debt business, according to market sources. The departures are just the latest in a long string of exits from Wall Street firms, which have totaled about 34,000, according to some news reports. In RBS Greenwich Capital's case, the cuts followed the floundering of its MBS origination and trading business in the wake of instability afflicting the subprime MBS sector. For several years, beginning in 2005, RBS Greenwich had been a rising star among lead managers for all public ABS deals, regularly placing in the top 10 among book runners. At the end of 2007, the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, parent of RBS Greenwich, ranked seventh among lead managers who handled RMBS deals, according to the ASR Scorecard database. RBS Greenwich declined to comment.
Advisory firm Westwood Capital has launched a hedge fund that will patronize a segment of the mortgage market that most investors are avoiding. The New York City-based advisory firm created the fund in a partnership with ARC Global Partners, also of New York, and has begun bidding on loans. The targeted assets: first-lien, owner-occupied, nonperforming loans in the 60-day-plus delinquency bucket, according to sources familiar with the situation. At its bare essentials, Westwood's strategy is to pick up the loans at a discount and use its servicer, which was not named, to get the loans to re-perform. To spearhead the initiative, Westwood appointed three industry veterans. Morton Dear, former vice chairman of The Money Store, is chairman of the new fund; Evan Mitnick joined as president. Mitnick joined Westwood Capital in June 2007 after leaving New Century Financial, where he was a senior vice president. Mitnick was also a director at Citigroup Global Markets.