SFIG Taps Ally MD for Exec Post

The Structured Finance Industry Group’s first executive director hails from an issuer.

Before heading up the trade association, Richard Johns was a managing director and head of global funding and liquidity at Ally Financial.

Also, last month the SFIG said that its 18-person interim board of directors has begun to select formal board members. The process is expected to be completed by mid-year. Members who joined SFIG prior to April 30, 2013 are deemed “founding members” and are eligible for consideration for board membership as well as for committee chairs.

Johns, 45, will report to SFIG’s board, currently chaired by Reggie Imamura. The new executive director has more than 16 years of experience in securitization. Prior to joining Ally in 2010, Johns worked at Capital One Financial as head of global capital markets and MBNA —now Bank of America — in the corporate finance sector.

Johns told ASR that as regulations are being crafted, the group will be able to bring to the table a “consensus position from across the whole industry.” 

Imamura said that core to SFIG’s mission is representing the broad membership of “all major parties that are critical to the securitization industry.”

SFIG also announced last month that it will be headquartered in Washington D.C. with plans to maintain a strong presence in New York.  The group is currently looking to hire additional staff, including a director of advocacy.

The group was formed in March by members who split from another trade group, the American Securitization Forum. SFIG has already stepped into some of the ongoing regulatory developments, both in the US and globally.

Mayer Brown Hires CLO Expert Berkovich

Law firm Mayer Brown has hired Lawrence Berkovich to be part of its Charlotte office. Berkovich was hired as a partner in the firm’s banking and finance practice. He was previously a counsel with Dechert in Charlotte.
Berkovich focuses on complex structured finance transactions, specifically broadly syndicated and middle-market collateralized loan obligations; both first mortgage and mezzanine commercial real estate loan securitizations (CRE CLOs/CDOs); as well as rated and unrated leveraged loan and commercial real estate loan warehouse facilities.

He was principal outside counsel to a major investment bank in developing its CLO and warehousing platform.

The new hire also has extensive expertise in derivative products.

“Larry has extensive experience and a proven record of success in handling a wide range of complex structured finance matters for domestic and international financial institutions, with a particular emphasis on CLO transactions,” said Carol Hitselberger, Charlotte office leader of the firm’s banking and finance practice.

“Mayer Brown’s strong banking & finance practice and international footprint provide the ideal platform for me to leverage my extensive CLO and general structured finance experience to provide superior client service while expanding my practice,” Berkovich said.

PCS Adds Buyside Pro

The Prime Collateralised Securities initiative announced last month that Will Howard Davies of PIMCO will serve on its market committee. Davies is a portfolio manager at PIMCO, responsible for RMBS and residential mortgages.

The group said last month that Davies will bring his more than 14 years of securitization buyside expertise to the group.

PCS is the securitization Kitemark launched last June, designed to identify securitizations that meet predefined best practice standards with regard to quality, transparency, simplicity and standardization.

MoFo Adds CMBS Veteran

Lawrence Ceriello has joined Morrison & Foerster’s real estate finance group in New York as a partner.
The firm said last month that Ceriello advises commercial lenders, investment banks, life insurers, hedge funds and others in major real estate transactions, particularly those involving complex debt financings and securitizations.

Ceriello joins MoFo from Nixon Peabody, where he was a partner.  He has over two decades of experience originating large commercial real estate loans, with an emphasis on loans included in CMBS.
Ceriello has also worked on mezzanine debt and workouts of distressed real estate, as well as other areas of finance.

Brent Lewis Joins Hunton & Williams

Brent Lewis has joined Hunton & Williams’ structured finance and securitization practice as counsel in New York.

Lewis joins the firm from Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, where he was an associate.

He has a background in the residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) market, representing market-leading issuers and underwriters on hundreds of public and private securitization and resecuritization transactions. He has also served as issuer’s and underwriter’s counsel in commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) transactions.

Cantor Bulks Up on CLOs

Cantor Fitzgerald said last month that it has added four structured credit professionals and is planning to expand the business to underwrite new collateralized loan obligations in the U.S. and Europe.