Bryan Roberts recently left his position as director of European operations for Atlantic Information Services to return to the U.S. and join Deloitte & Touche's securitization services practice. At D&T, Roberts will be part of the team that markets and supports its CDO system offering, CDO Suite. In his new role, Roberts will report to Hillel Caplan, D&T's global product leader for CDO Suite and ultimately to Mark Scherer, D&T's head of securitization technology.

Financial Stocks announced last week that Karim Berichi has joined the firm as director and head of ABS Investments. Berichi, who was previously head of U.S. ABS investments at Fortis Investments, will lead FSI's ABS CDO platform. Berichi, who will be based in New York, will report to Steve Kuppenheimer, head of structured finance. In his new role, Berichi will pursue opportunities in the ABS CDOs such as mezzanine and high grade strategies. Steven Stein, chairman and CEO of FSI, and John Stein, president, will continue to oversee management of the firm and its core investment portfolios. Commenting on the recent hire, Kuppenheimer said, "Karim Berichi has outstanding experience in the ABS markets and a well-deserved reputation for top tier performance that will help us to pursue new opportunities for our clients. I look forward to collaborating with him to expand our platform of alternative investments."

Nissan North America last week announced that Rakesh Kochhar has been named director of NNA's treasury department. He will replace Kazuhiko Kazama who will be returning to Nissan's world headquarters in Tokyo. Kochhar will oversee Nissan's treasury activities, including cash flow management in auto business and debt programs within Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp. Prior to coming to Nissan, Kochhar was with Delphi Corp. as the director of corporate finance. He was responsible for several departments, including domestic and international finance and capital markets. In the same department, Rachel Serina was recently appointed senior manager of treasury's funding group at the firm's treasury department and is managing Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp.'s debt and securitization programs. She first came to Nissan during the last half of 2005 as manager of funding. Before Nissan, Serina spent 12 years at Mitsubishi Motors developing its presence in the capital markets with various debt programs including fixed income and ABS. Serina replaces Jennifer Kuritz, who is leaving the company after deciding not to relocate to Nashville, Tenn., where NNA recently moved its headquarters.

RBC Capital Markets last week announced the launch of its U.S. real estate mortgage capital business and the appointment of 20-year industry veteran Dan Smith as head of the group. The firm also announced the appointment of Dan LePage as head of U.S. real estate corporate banking and the hiring of Kevin Stahl and Bryan Maher to its real estate investment banking group. The real estate mortgage capital group will initially focus on offering both fixed- and floating-rate CMBS loans, with near-term plans to expand into other commercial lending products such as CDO loans as the business develops. The new program is an extension of the firm's' existing CMBS platform in Canada, which closed $655 million of securitization volume last year, comprising 20% of the Canadian CMBS market.

Herbert Smith LLP has appointed partner Jake Jackaman as debt capital markets chief. In that role, Jackaman will develop its securitization practice. Jackaman is based in London, and heads a team of three partners that include Jane Borrows and Dina Albaglu, plus 12 associates. The firm aims to increase this team with two new associates over the next year.

CIFG recruited Philippe Nacson as director in its European infrastructure group. Nacson worked for Royal Bank of Scotland in its project and export finance group, working in its London and Paris offices. Before that, he worked in the London offices of HSBC's project finance group as well as with Saur (Bouygues Group) as a financial analyst. The new hire has worked on a varied array of public private partnership deals such as rail, airport, toll road and water distribution projects. Nacson reports to Alan Douglas, managing director and head of European infrastructure.

Citigroup is expected to bring the first dollar-denominated CMBS deal backed by assets located in nine cities in eastern China, including Nanning and Jinan. According to published reports, the tenant base of these properties includes such international firms as Kentucky Fried Chicken and Wal-Mart. Macquarie Bank is co-lead managing the transaction, which was reported by at $145 million. The borrower is reportedly Dynasty Property Investment Holdings, which was incorporated in Bermuda. Roadshows for the deal were expected to begin late last week and continue this week in Hong Kong.

Morgan Stanley is preparing to bring the market a partially funded synthetic CDO referencing a $10 billion notional portfolio of investment-grade corporate bonds. The reference obligations appear to be concentrated in the banking and finance, broadcasting/media/cable, chemicals and telecommunications sectors, and carry a triple-B +/triple-B weighted average rating, according to Fitch Ratings. Proceeds of the notes will be invested in triple-A rated credit card securities.

German mortgage lender Essen Hypothekenbank, a majority owned subsidiary of Commerzbank AG, has bought 1,400 private mortgage loans totaling 440 million ($565 million) from Allgemeine Hypothekenbank (AHBR). AHBR, which was bought by U.S. group Lone Star at the end of 2005, has two securitizations outstanding - the RMBS Provide Casa 2004-1 and the CMBS deal Castanea One Plc. The RMBS transaction has 88.3 million of funded notes outstanding.

Fitch Ratings has lowered the unsecured rating of FCE Bank to B' (negative outlook) from B+', following the downgrade of parent Ford Motor Company, also to B' (negative outlook). Both Standard & Poor's and Moody's Investors Service have higher ratings for the finance subsidiary, currently at BB-' and Ba3', respectively (both on watch negative). Ford's Globaldrive auto securitization programs have no direct exposure to FCE's ratings. According to market reports, only the insolvency of FCE would constitute an early amortization event in the revolving ABS series.

Sanpaolo IMI and Banca Intesa have confirmed that they are in merger talks. If successful, the merger would create a financial institution with a market capitalization greater than 60 billion, making it the second largest banking group in Italy behind Unicredito. Both banks have securitizations outstanding currently, with Banca Intesa the more prolific user of structured finance via programs such as Intesa Lease Srl, Intesa NPL SPA and the RMBS series Intesa Securitisation SPA. Sanpaolo's securitizations outstanding include SPLIT, the lease ABS.

Markit Group, provider of independent data, portfolio valuations and trade processing for the OTC derivative markets, announced recently that it has acquired Chasen Enterprises, which offers the modeling of structured securities, specifically agency and non-agency CMOs and ABS. According to a company release, Markit will leverage Chasen's structured finance expertise to further develop its Reference Cashflow Database (RCD), which is scheduled to launch later this year and will be used as the central monitoring and settlement platform for the CDS of ABS market. The release also stated that Markit's ABX calculator used for settlement of the ABX index trades and is free to market participants should also benefit from enhanced functionality.

(c) 2006 Asset Securitization Report and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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