Standard Chartered Bank appointed Vinod Aachi as the global head of structuring, a newly created position. Aachi will also be a member of the Financial Markets Management Committee and report directly to Lenny Feder, group head of financial markets. Aachi, who will be based in Singapore, was previously at Deutsche Bank in Singapore and Hong Kong, where he was responsible for all structuring in Asia. During his 11 years at Deutsche, Aachi helped build the bank's capability in structuring a wide range of products such as fixed income, credit, currency, equity, commodity and hybrid derivatives. His other responsibilities included sales, credit, pricing, idea generation, trading desk coordination, and legal and regulatory clearances.

The Churchill Financial Group hired David Heilbrunn for the newly created position of senior managing director, head of corporate strategy and development. Heilbrunn will be a member of Churchill's senior management team as well. In his new position, Heilbrunn will focus on investor relationships, executing and coordinating M&A, joint venture and strategic alliances, launching new product offerings, managing existing and new banking, and coordinating future capital raising activities. Before Churchill, the new hire was senior managing director and CDO group head for Bear Stearns'structured financial products group. Prior to that, Heilbrunn spent 12 years with JPMorgan, leading different business units, most recently serving as managing director, structured credit products, responsible for the bank's North American CDO origination, structuring and execution activities.

Andrews Kurth has formed a new practice group focused on advising clients on matters related to the issuance, underwriting, purchase and sale of covered bonds. The attorneys involved in the covered bonds practice group will monitor developments in the credit markets and the legislature in order to advise clients on the business, legal and regulatory aspects of covered bond transactions. "Our goal is to stay at the forefront of market needs," said Mark Harris, a partner at the law firm. Members of the covered bonds practice group will include Dallas-based securitization partners David Barbour, Pat Sargent, Peter McKee, Mark Harris, Paul Seve and Muriel McFarling.

Piper Jaffray & Co. has expanded its aircraft finance team. The new additions to the team include Doug Runte, Scott Sodokoff, Dan Reese, and John Covello. Runte joins Piper Jaffray as a managing director and senior analyst in fixed-income analytics in New York. He was previously a managing director at RBS Greenwich Capital, where he focused on the transportation sector, as well as airline debt and aircraft-backed securities, such as enhanced equipment trust certificates (EETCs). Sodokoff joins Piper Jaffray as a managing director and senior trader in the New York office. He was previously a managing director and senior trader at Bear Stearns where he focused on EETCs, project finance and credit-enhanced structures. He has also held similar roles at UBS Investment Bank and Prudential Securities, focusing on credit-enhanced vehicles. Reese rejoins the aircraft finance team as a senior desk analyst in Minneapolis to expand the team's expertise in aviation-related securities and strategic opportunities. He was previously a vice president and research analyst at Piper Jaffray where he focused on aircraft ABS, EETCs and other structured finance sectors, and spent several years providing analysis of the structured finance market, helping to build the firm's original aircraft sector expertise. Covello previously worked at Bear Stearns for more than 10 years. At Piper Jaffray, he will join the aircraft finance team as a trader in the New York office where he focuses mainly on secured airline debt, energy project debt and private placements. He has also coordinated retail and institutional sales with the institutional trading desk.

Merrill Lynch recently hired Michael Nierenberg and James De Mare. Nierenberg will head global mortgages and securitized products businesses; he reports directly to Thomas Montag, head of global sales and trading at Merrill. De Mare will oversee the firm's mortgage trading operations and report to Nierenberg. Nierenberg was most recently at JPMorgan where he was head of global securitized products, a position he held after moving from Bear Stearns earlier this year. He joined Bear in 1994, and held positions such as, head of interest rate and foreign exchange trading operations, co-head of structured products and co-head of mortgage-backed securities trading. Prior to Bear Stearns, Nierenberg spent seven years at Lehman Brothers, where he built the firm's adjustable rate mortgage business. De Mare was previously with Citigroup for 11 years, most recently as the global head of mortgage trading, which included the trading of all securitized products in Citigroup's fixed income currencies and commodities group. He joined Salomon Brothers in 1997 to run its ARM trading business. Before Salomon, De Mare traded agency and non-agency adjustable rate mortgages at Bear Stearns and Prudential Securities.

The D. E. Shaw Group recently tapped Richard McKinney as a managing director to oversee the firm's newly formed ABS unit. McKinney will report to Max Stone, a member of the firm's six-person executive committee. Also new to the group is Rocky Kurita, who joined the firm in July as a senior vice president and will work directly with McKinney. McKinney joins the firm from Lehman Brothers, where he headed up the securitized products business for the past year. Kurita joins from Deutsche Bank, where he was a managing director and has fourteen years of experience in trading, hedging, and marketing asset-backed securities. "The depth of expertise in securitized products that Rich and Rocky bring will enhance our ability to invest in a broad range of asset-backed products," Stone said. The establishment of a focused group should formalize the firm's efforts in this area and help them take advantage of a broader range of market opportunities.

Bingham McCutchen has hired Kenneth A. Kopelman, former head of Bear Stearns fixed-income and derivatives legal groups, and Gerald Russello, former managing director of Bear Stearns legal department. Kopelman joins as a partner, and Russello as of counsel. At Bear Stearns from 1993 to 2008, Kopelman held several key positions including senior managing director of the legal department where he managed legal and regulatory aspects of the trading, markets and derivatives businesses for the global investment banking and securities firm. He was also a founding member of the firm's new products committee and a member of its president's advisory council. Kopelman was the first lawyer hired to build a legal team to service Bear Stearns' newly established derivatives business in 1993.

Banker and former regulator William Longbrake has retired as a vice chairman at Washington Mutual, where he worked for 26 years. Longbrake announced his retirement last week and said he has become a director of First Financial Northwest, which owns the $1.2 billion-asset First Savings Bank Northwest based in Renton, Wash. Longbrake joined WaMu in 1982, becoming the chief financial officer of what was then Washington Mutual Savings Bank, after stints at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Longbrake said he intends "to keep engaged in industry activities" through a variety of roles. He will remain on the board of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle and a consultant to the Financial Services Roundtable, where he has advised the HopeNow alliance.

Baring Asset Management has hired Katie Bowmar as head of product development. She will work under George Harvey, head of sales, client services and business development. Bowmar was previously a director in the international product development unit at BlackRock.

Zealous Capital Markets will sell its Zealous Alternative Trading System to Global Access Holdings. The planned sale will merge the research and trading capabilities from both firms to build a platform for trading in illiquid securities, the company said. The newly combined platform, Global Access Trading Engine, will continue its U.S. trading operation, but will also expand into emerging markets through Global Access Holding's international partnerships.

Gottex Fund Management Holdings, an independent global alternative asset management group, appointed James Singh as deputy head of its Asian business. Singh, who will be based in Hong Kong, will also be a member of the Gottex research committee and a co-portfolio manager for the Gottex Tiger Fund. The new hire will be involved in the firm's Asian marketing, working closely with Peter Bennett, head of the Asian business. Singh joins Gottex from Lehman Brothers where he was managing director, chief administrative officer and head of strategic planning for capital markets (equity and fixed income) in Asia. Previously, he was global head of derivatives structuring in fixed income at UBS in London following several years in Japan as the head of fixed income and head of equity derivatives, marketing and structuring.

Another player in the U.K. homebuilding industry took a hit last week. The largest U.K. homebuilder Taylor Wimpey reported a £1.42 billion ($2.51 billion) loss and is getting close to breaching loan covenants. Losses materialized after writing down property values. Total writedowns and goodwill adjustments totaled Ä1.51 billion ($2.17 billion).

BNP Paribas appointed Alain Dib as global head of its new distressed finance group. Dib will report to Frederic Janbon, the firm's global head of fixed income, and Dominique Remy, the global head of financing businesses. Dib has spent 16 years in leveraged finance and high yield, working with financial sponsors, corporate clients and institutional investors. He was most recently co-head of European high yield capital markets at BNP. In the U.S., Monique Hill will spearhead the distressed effort and will report to Dib. Hill has over 30 years of diversified banking experience at BNP in the U.S. and in Europe, in leveraged and structured finance, restructuring and work-out, credit and counterparty risk management and trading. She was most recently in charge of distressed trading and special situations in the U.S.

Bank of America and Scotia Capital are marketing a $1.75 billion credit facility for Ashland, a Covington, Ky.-based chemical company that makes resins, polymers and adhesives used in cars. The debt will help fund the company's $3.3 billion acquisition of Hercules, a Wilmington, Del.-based chemical company that specializes in water-treatment chemicals used in latex paints and printing inks. The banks began prepping the debt last month (ASR, 08/18/08). The facility includes two $100 million term loans that can be put into an accounts receivable securitization program. Ashland is rated 'BB+' by Standard & Poor's.

(c) 2008 Asset Securitization Report and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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