Live Well Acquires $531 Million Reverse Mortgage Portfolio, Adds NYC Trading Desk

Live Well Financial announced Tuesday that it has acquired a bulk portfolio of Ginne Mae guaranteed bonds from an unnamed seller, which includes HREMIC Securities comprised of $531 million in notional balances.

Following the announcement of the transaction, which settled in late August, the company also said it has hired a New York City-based group from Stifel Financial’s (NYSE: SF) Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) Trading Desk to manage the newly acquired portfolio.

This team, led by Executive Vice President Darren Stumberger, will join Live Well in early September, the company stated in a press release. Additionally, the group includes Senior Vice President Ernie Calabrese and Vice President Dan Foster who will also join Live Well alongside Stumberger.

The team will be integral in creating new avenues of profitability for Live Well, as well as branding the franchise with the institutional investor base, said Live Well Chairman and CEO Michael Hild in a written statement.

“Given the group’s extensive capital markets experience, the Live Well trading desk will manage, structure, and invest in government guaranteed mortgage backed securities,” Hild said. “We are extremely excited to welcome the Stifel team to the Live Well family.”

Through a vertically integrated platform consisting of the recently acquired investment portfolio and trading desk, Live Well aims to achieve greater competitiveness for its retail, wholesale and correspondent channels in both the forward and reverse mortgage markets.

“This is a natural time in the cycle to build infrastructure and extract a greater amount of value from mortgage originations,” stated Stumberger. “The team has a long-standing relationship with the management committee and is looking forward to delivering enhanced value to shareholders.”

Prior to Stifel, Stumberger’s experience includes holding trading and securitization posts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.

Foster has spent the majority of his career at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, while Calabrese has over 15 years of experience at Bear Stearns and Deutsche Bank.

Live Well has been a spearhead of product innovation of late in the reverse mortgage market, having rolled out an annually adjusting reverse mortgage product in April, as well as a series of fixed rate reverse mortgage products in late 2013 and early 2014.

In July, the company announced the launch of a reverse mortgage call center in Virginia, as well as plans to hire as many as 300 new employees in the coming months.

Written by Jason Oliva

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