Wilbur Ross Prepares $1 Billion PPIP Investment

[Update 1 clarifies Wilbur Ross’ relation to WL Ross.] Invesco (IVZ) and its wholly-owned subsidiary WL Ross, chaired by investment giant Wilbur Ross, on Monday made preparations to invest up to $1bn in the government’s Public-Private Investment Program (PPIP). “We strongly believe that the Public-Private Investment Program will help stimulate the mortgage market and provide individual and institutional investors globally with compelling investment opportunities in the Legacy Securities and Legacy Loan programs,” Invesco president and CEO Martin Flanagan said in a media statement Monday. Real estate developer LeFrak Organization, Muriel Siebert & Co., Williams Capital Group and the Jackson Securities, along with WL Ross portfolio companies Assured Guaranty and American Home Mortgage Servicing, will assist in the investment process. The marriage of Invesco’s team, which manages some $159bn in assets, with WL Ross’ distressed investment skills should allow for experienced handling of so-called ‘legacy’ assets through the PPIP, company officials said. The PPIP, announced in late March, aimed to stimulate more private capital investments in order to generate some $500bn in purchasing power to buy ‘legacy’ — or ‘toxic’ — assets. The program faced something of a makeover in early April as the Treasury Department updated guidelines “to better accommodate increased participation.” In addition to extending the application deadline, the Treasury said the criteria would be considered “holistically,” meaning it would not automatically throw out a proposal that didn’t meet all the requirements. The revisions did little to quell the original argument against the program: ‘legacy’ is a euphemism for ‘bad’ and no one wants questionable, toxic or bad assets. HousingWire’s Linda Lowell wrote expansively on the PPIP and the way potential bank participation has been “vastly overestimated” due to issues raised on the investor side. Invesco’s and WL Ross’ plans to participate mark perhaps the largest commitment to the program, especially after Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund manager, in April decided against participating in the plan. Founder Ray Dalio said the securities side of the program presented both a conflict of interest for asset managers and one that offers little leverage. Write to Diana Golobay at [email protected]. Disclosure: The author held no relevant investment positions when this story was published. Indirect holdings may exist via mutual fund investments.

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