Ramesh Singh, head of real estate and securitized (RE&S) products. is departing UBS to spend more time with his family and to subsequently pursue other career opportunities, according to an internal UBS memo. The firm also announced that its refocused real estate and securitization activities will be headed by managing directors Bill Chandler, Jack McCleary and Jim Reichek, who will report directly to Jerker Johansson, chairman and chief executive officer of UBS Investment Bank, and Jeff Mayer, the global co-head of the fixed income, currencies and commodities business. Bill Chandler becomes head of transaction management for the group. In this role, he will be responsible for the portfolio management of several existing securities programs and various other special situations. He will also be responsible for the transactions requiring pre-approval (TRPA) process within RE&S. Jim Reichek will continue in his role as U.S. head of real estate finance, with responsibility for all commercial loan origination in addition to all trading in CMBS; and Jack McCleary is named head of ABS and MBS trading activities. He will oversee the firm's client-facing businesses, which will include selective market making in non-agency securities, as well as portfolio analysis and restructuring services. In addition, passthrough trading will be integrated within the bank's rates trading desk in Stamford, reporting to David Sacco.
Laurie Goodman has joined the New York offices of Amherst Holdings as a senior managing director in charge of research, risk management and business development, effective Dec. 8. Goodman was most recently managing director and head of global fixed-income research at UBS. At UBS, she also ran the securitized products research group and wrote the Mortgage Strategist, a mortgage strategy research report. Goodman worked as head of the securitized products research group at Paine Webber prior to the UBS-Paine Webber merger. Before Paine Webber, she was vice president and head of MBS strategy at Merrill Lynch. Goodman has also worked at Eastbridge Capital, Goldman Sachs, Citicorp and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. She has published more than 180 articles and co-authored five books on the mortgage industry. Amherst provides U.S. RMBS strategy and analytics services. Through a suite of operating companies, it also offers brokerage and consulting services to U.S. fixed-income investors, with an emphasis on residential mortgages and derivatives.
Oak Hill Advisors has hired Fritz Thomas as a managing director, where he will help head up the firm's business development and client coverage activities. Thomas will also play a role in the development of Oak Hill's structured product investment business. He was most recently a managing director at Deutsche Bank, where he was head of global distribution for CDOs and other alternative investment products. His duties also included management of the bank's European CDO platform. Before Deutsche, Thomas worked at Bankers Trust Co., where he structured and syndicated corporate loans, and at Chemical Bank, in corporate banking. Oak Hill Advisors is a specialty investment management firm specializing in below investment-grade credit markets, and loan and bond markets.
Cairn Capital appointed Peter Hansell, formerly a managing director in Lehman Brothers' global real estate group, to focus on the development and expansion of Cairn's existing real estate related activities, and to run the firm's soon-to-be-launched Ibex Fund. The Ibex Fund will specifically invest in CMBS. Before Lehman, Hansell ran Standard & Poor's CMBS rating team in Europe, and he was a senior relationship manager specializing in commercial real estate-related lending at The Royal Bank of Scotland.
Evolution Securities (ESL), an independent U.K. investment bank, is expanding its fixed-income business. The firm appointed Guy Cornelius, formerly a managing director of Lehman Brothers International, as head of fixed income. More appointments are expected to follow in the near term. ESL's chief executive, Andrew Umbers, said that the current economic environment presents a significant opportunity to create a strong new fixed-income business. Even with many traditional market players being forced to reduce their commitment to fixed income because of their own financial constraints, ESL does not suffer from those limitations and can now take advantage of these opportunities in the market. Before Lehman, Cornelius spent 11 years at UBS, most recently as head of fixed-income sales for Europe and the Middle East. He also served on the European management committee and acted as a trustee of the UBS (U.K.) pension scheme.
Property fund manager Cordea Savills has hired three individuals to join its Italian investment and operations teams in Milan, as part of its expansion plans. David Cunnington joins as managing director, relocating from the London office. He will manage the Italian-regulated unit of Cordea Savills, including corporate finance and fund operations. Cunnington joined the firm in 2004. Salvatore Ruoppolo joins as head of investment handling for the firm's investment and asset management team in Italy. Ruoppolo joins from Pirelli Real Estate, where he handled the firm's business unit, Asset Management Residential Italy. Paola Fiorini is Cordea Savills' new chief operating officer in Italy. Fiorini joined the firm in July after serving as chief financial officer at Babcock & Brown SGR. She has also worked in finance at Credit Agricole Asset Management.
Deutsche Bank has hired GMAC RFC's former head of structured finance, Kostas Halatsis. Halatsis joined Deutsche as a senior trader on its London-based whole loan desk earlier in November. He reports to Brian Wiele, head of whole loan sales and trading. Halatsis spent five years at GMAC RFC, most recently as head of structured finance.
Beta-Gamma Research, an algorithmic and automated trading developer, hired Howard Tolman as chief executive officer. Tolman whose tenures include management positions at Bankers Trust, Dresdner Bank, Bank of America, BCC Group, Cognotec and foreign exchange-focused messaging and integration company Logiscope is a foreign exchange trading specialist with experience in credit and risk management. At Bank of America, Tolman was responsible for treasury and foreign exchange activities, and credit and financial analysis, as well as for introducing innovative financial structures and securitization.
Citigroup has acquired Epic Asset Management, a N.J.-based distressed debt fund manager, in an effort to expand the fixed-income unit of its alternative asset division. The deal includes the fund manager's assets as well as its six staff members. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The fund will be relaunched as Citigroup Alternative Investment Distressed Debt Strategies; it will be co-led by Herbert Seif and James Duplessie, who founded Epic in 2002 as a distressed debt, long/short investment strategy firm. Before Epic, Seif and Duplessie worked at UBS, where they managed a portfolio of distressed debt assets. They will report to Jonathan Dorfman and James O'Brien, who head Citi's global fixed income group.
Residential Credit Solutions (RCS) was approved as a loan servicer for Fannie Mae last week. This announcement came shortly after RCS was added to the Standard & Poor's select servicer list as a residential subprime and special servicer. RCS was the only servicer named to the subprime category last month. The company currently manages approximately $1 billion in performing and non-performing residential mortgage loans, and has more than 122 employees in offices in Fort Worth, Los Angeles and New York. RCS is backed by private equity firm Equifin Capital Partners and Och-Ziff Capital Management Group.
Fitch Ratings put the 'A-' rating on a DPR program from Brazil's Unibanco on Watch Positive, following the announcement that the originator would merge with Banco Itau Holding Financeira. ASR reported that Fitch could put the deals on Watch Positive after it made an identical move on Itau's local currency rating (ASR, 11/7/08). In rating future flow deals, Fitch focuses on what it calls the "ongoing concern" of the originator, which is shaped by its global scale local currency rating.
Elsewhere in Brazilian DPRs, Moody's Investors Service upgraded the rating of Banco Santander's DPR program to 'A2' from 'A3.' The move came after the agency upgraded the bank's global local currency deposit rating. In addition, the debt service coverage (DSCR) ratios of the shelf have been consistently strong, the agency said. Quarterly DSCR stood at 77 times as of October.
Standard & Poor's said it will release the names of the providers of rating-dependent liquidity and credit support to ABCP conduits. The rating agency expects to start including this information in its regular surveillance publishing on RatingsDirect for all reporting periods after March 31. This announcement is part of a broad series of moves intended to enhance transparency in the firm's ratings process. This is an important step toward enabling ABCP buyers to better evaluate their risk positions, S&P said. On May 6, S&P published a commentary discussing its views on ABCP market transparency. The ratings firm described the types of data investors have said they are seeking, with primary items including the identity of rating-dependent liquidity and credit support providers. S&P intends to publish this information for all rated ABCP conduits. The firm announced that conduit sponsors who do not want their information to be published could request that S&P withdraw their ABCP rating.
Citigroup will buy the final $17.4 billion of assets still in structured investment vehicles (SIV) as the bank ends its exposure to these off-balance-sheet entities. Citigroup stated that the purchase will be largely cashless and will result in the company being repaid $6.5 billion in support given to the SIVs. The deal will result in the SIVs having enough funds to pay maturing senior debt, with Citi estimating that it may have to pay $300 million at closing. The SIVs' current fair value was estimated to be $21.5 billion as of Sept. 30. The $4.1 billion change since then came largely due to asset sales and maturities. Citigroup has suffered net losses of over $20 billion in the previous four quarters, amid write-downs of at least twice that amount, according to published reports.
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