F&C Asset Management hired Teimuraz Barbakadze from SG CIB, the investment-banking division of Societe Generale, as head of structured credit. It is a new position for F&C. Executives said the development of a CDO platform is among the firm's initiatives this year. Barbakadze will report to Jacob de Wit, head of fixed income, and will be responsible for structuring, marketing and distributing structured credit products.
Dresdner Kleinwort, the investment bank of Dresdner Bank AG, appointed Neil Walker as its new head of credit trading. In his new role, Walker's responsibilities include working on structured credit solutions, cash CDOs, ABS and exotics. It also includes the credit flow products business, which comprises investment-grade, high yield and emerging markets trading as well as syndication across all products, including rates and SNPP products. Walker reports to Mark Richardson, head of equity and credit derivatives, and he will be based in London. "In particular, we want to strengthen our cash CDO business plus our high yield and distressed trading platforms. Neil will also help our ongoing effort to ensure the closer working of credit trading and equity derivatives as we enhance our single unified structuring and risk-management platform across the two asset classes," Richardson said. In the past, Walker worked for Merrill Lynch and Bear Stearns.
Chartwell Investment Partners hired John Hopkins as a senior analyst covering credit sectors, MBS and structured products. He joins from Collateral Processing Group where he was founder and managing principal. The firm also hired Tom Coughlin as an analyst. Most recently, he was an investment analyst with Janney Montgomery Scott.
Consumer Portfolio Services, a subprime auto loan provider, closed a $115 million securitization, a private transaction secured by subprime auto receivables. All of the notes in the two-tranche structure were highly rated, with a short-term class garnering A-1+'/VP-1' ratings from Standard & Poor's and Moody's Investors Service. The other notes were rated triple-A. Using a pre-funding structure, the CPS Auto Receivables Trust 2007-TFC sold about $79.1 million in notes up-front, and another $36.2 million will be sold next month, when the company is slated to complete another term securitization.
Deutsche Bank recently launched Monterey Funding, a partially supported, multiseller asset-backed commercial paper program that will have a $5 billion program limit. All ABCP issued from the vehicle will be purchased by an existing Deutsche conduit, called Gemini Securitization Corp., which will issue ABCP from its vehicle to investors on a match-funded basis, according to Moody's Investors Service, which gave the program a P-1' rating. Monterey's structure is similar to that of several other Deutsche ABCP vehicles, including Nantucket Funding and Saratoga Funding.
Global Tower Holdings, a wireless tower operator and a portfolio company of the Blackstone Group, is preparing a $480 million term securitization backed by ground leases and mortgages on 2,074 wireless communications towers. Morgan Stanley is acting as sole book running manager on the transaction, and will place the debt under 144A rules, according to Fitch Ratings. Global Tower made significant expansion efforts recently. After Blackstone purchased a 90% stake in the company in April 2005, Global Tower built another 1,597 wireless towers.
Irwin Financial posted a first-quarter loss of $10.1 million, equivalent to 36 cents per diluted share versus a loss of $1.9 million, or 6 cents per share, a year earlier. The Columbus, Ind.-based firm said that its loss from continuing operations was $6.1 million or 22 cents per diluted share, versus a net income of $8.7 million or 30 cents per share a year earlier. The home-equity lending slowdown and an impaired commercial loan that caused a $4.1 million charge-off brought about the losses, Irwin said, adding that the slow commercial loan and deposit growth were also to blame. Irwin had mostly completed the sale of Irwin Mortgage Corp. last January.
Last Monday, the American Securitization Forum (ASF) submitted a comment letter to the federal bank regulatory agencies that responded to the Proposed Statement on Subprime Mortgage Lending. The letter focused on three principles that the organization thinks should be addressed in the final statement. One principle is that the ASF thinks it's important that the federal bank regulatory agencies clarify that the guidelines are in fact guidelines, and not outright prohibitions. The ASF also urged that any final pronouncement still offer the securitization market the chance to innovate and operate efficiently and with flexibility and uniformity. The ASF believes as well that the proposed statement needs clarification about its applicability on several important points.
European CDOs of leveraged loans experienced a robust start during the first quarter and a year of brisk business lies ahead for this sector, Standard & Poor's said in a recent review of the sector. The pipeline for the rest of 2007 is full, with this year's overall numbers now projected to exceed those for 2006. According to the review, S&P assigned preliminary or final ratings to 27 deals over this quarter, dropping 18% from 4Q06, although significantly up from the same period last year. S&P stated that more new managers have been accessing the European leveraged loan market, therefore increasing the range of managers within this sector. During 1Q06, pricing tightened further at the lower end of the capital structure, S&P said, while it remained stable for senior classes, compared with 4Q06.
The National Association of Realtors lowered its expectations for the housing market this year as a reflection of stricter lending standards as well as the drop in the number of mortgages extended to borrowers with poor credit. The association said last Tuesday that it projects existing home sales of 6.29 million in 2007, which is down 2.9% from sales of 6.48 million in 2006. The median price for existing homes also is forecast to drop 1% to $219,800 this year, although it is expected to rebound 1.4% in 2008.
Mortgage-backed investor Luminent Mortgage Capital's board of directors appointed S. Trezevant Moore, Jr. to be CEO, and succeed Gail Seneca, the firm's founder. Seneca will remain chairman of the board of directors. The new appointee joined the firm in March 2005 as president and COO, and has served as a director since November 2005. Moore has 30 years of experience in the capital markets, during which he focused on mortgages. At Luminent, Moore built credit infrastructure, including underwriting and risk management, and led the company's entry into structured finance.
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