Morgan Stanley Pitches Dutch RMBS: Sources
Industry sources indicated Thursday that financial firm Morgan Stanley (MS) is pitching some $1.22bn of Dutch, non-conforming residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) bonds. HousingWire's sources, from Morgan Stanley in London, confirmed a letter concerning a securitization investment opportunity was sent to their investors base. However, they declined to provide details citing the proprietary nature of the letter. The European Central Bank (ECB) acquired the bonds through repo from branches of Lehman Brothers, the sources said. Sources remain split over whether the ECB will profit -- or break even, at the least -- from the sale of the bonds, which may attract interest due to the large size. ECB may have taken a haircut of as much as 12% at the time of repossession, sources said, and considering the improbability the market value will come in over 88%, it seems likely ECB will take a hit on the sale. The news of the $1.22bn pitch comes at a time when the Dutch RMBS market continues to show signs of stabilization in September, according to Moody's Investors Service. Sources could not say whether the Dutch RMBS offering comes from the new wealth management joint venture from Morgan Stanley, although that unit is showing a pick-up in personnel as investment opportunities grow. In late October, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney said it would begin to add 500 private wealth advisors to specialize in ultra-high net worth clients following its successful launch as a joint venture. The firm said this effort would be branded under the name Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management. "The combination of Morgan Stanley's well established Private Wealth Management division and Smith Barney's leading Citi Family Office capabilities creates a strong platform for individuals and families of significant means," said James Gorman, co-president of Morgan Stanley and chairman of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, in a statement at that time. "These clients have highly specialized wealth management and private banking requirements which we are uniquely positioned to fulfill." Morgan Stanley Smith Barney was formed by a spin-off of Citigroup's (C) retail brokerage business, Smith Barney, and the wealth management business operated by Morgan Stanley. Write to Diana Golobay.