As we return to our desks after last week’s whirlwind in Las Vegas for the Structured Finance Industry Group (SFIG) Conference, we find ourselves reflecting on how this conference was at once business as usual while also showing evidence of an evolving industry looking to the future. Approximately 8,050 attendees, including a sizable Dechert team, gathered last week at the Aria to discuss past, present and future and to put our heads together to ask “where do we go from here?”
Continue Reading SFIG Vegas 2019

I am congenitally pessimistic and some have, shockingly, called me cynical. Early last week, while we waited for Reg AB, I would have bet more than a dollar that there would have been a number of things in this final Rule which would disappoint.

Well, I was broadly wrong. The Rule as published, with its commentary (nearly 700 pages) is frankly… just not bad. Having been through it for a first go (and it is a slog) it is more notable for what it doesn’t do, than for what it does. It does not extend Reg AB to the 144A market as was suggested by the republished preliminary rule from 2011. It does not include the whacky waterfall computation program from that prior missive. It does not require all the transaction documents to be filed by the date of the preliminary prospectus. It does not impose its own bespoke version of risk retention as a condition to shelf registration. It does not turn some poor bastard who happens to be the CEO of the depositor into a guarantor of the success of the offering, and it does not continually reset a five-day pre-pricing requirement for the delivery of the final prospectus supplement when any late deal change occur.
Continue Reading Final REG AB Rules: Man Bites Dog

Almost a month ago, the SEC surprised many people by including a vote on the final Reg AB II rules on its February 5 meeting agenda. In a highly unusual move, the SEC then removed the vote from the meeting agenda on February 3, two days before the vote was to take place. This left many to speculate as to the reason the vote was cancelled and what internal politics were taking place at the SEC. Was the vote not supposed to be on the agenda in the first place?
Continue Reading SEC Reopens Comments Period for Reg AB II

Last Thursday, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) responded to ASF’s and SIFMA’s requests for relief from the new CFTC rules which implemented certain Dodd-Frank amendments that brought swaps within the purview of the CFTC.  The new rules, which took effect on October 12, 2012, threatened to regulate many securitization vehicles as commodity pools even though these vehicles typically only use swaps for hedging or risk management purposes.  The crux of the issue, and possibly the unintended consequence of the new CFTC rules, is that, without relief, sponsors and advisors (such as depositors, trustees, collateral managers and servicers) would be subject to CFTC registration and regulation as commodity pool operators and/or commodity trading advisors. Continue Reading Unintended Consequences Avoided? CFTC Provides Relief for Certain Securitization Vehicles

It’s that time of year when we’re forced to think about budgets and business plans. The pointy headed types from the accounting department want to know exactly what we’ll be doing the second week of next May and, as I’m sure every one of you have said (or thought) when confronted with such bureaucratic insanity: If I knew exactly what I’d be doing and what the business environment would look like next year, I would (A) not tell you, and (B) stop doing this. But with that said, and notwithstanding my crystal ball is as opaque as the bottom of a Stygian cave, we need to plan.

So, I’ve been thinking. What the heck are we going to do next year? Is the CMBS market irrevocably broken? Was Credit Suisse trigger happy or prescient, stepping away from the market? Will investors buy bonds? Will European banks sell assets like it is the last hour of a bake sale? How about the US banks? Will banks make loans? Will we pare down the list of eager CMBS lenders to 10? Will the life companies replicate their boisterous 2010-2011? Will we finally see the bubble of refinancing we have been predicting to occur in two years for the past five, actually happen in 2012?    Will investors commit enough money to the high yield sector and will the mezzanine market really be hot? Will we ever do a covered bond? Will we ever do a CRE CDO (like I’ve been prattling along about for quite a while now)?   Live in hope; die in despair, as my daddy-in-law used to say. Will real estate people actually build new stuff and launch new projects? Do you think China would lend us a construction crane or two just for a while? Will risk retention arrive? Reg AB 2.0? What about the Volcker Rule? Will the rating agencies continue to conduct business as usual? What will the elections bring? Will the Greeks sell the Parthenon? Will the Italians sell the Tower of Pisa? Will haughty France play the poodle to Mrs. Merkel? What ultimately about Germany? Will the Europeans continue to support their champion national banks while they compete for a starring role in the next Night of the Living Dead movie? Forever?Continue Reading THE NEW NORMAL / A THEORY OF GOOD NEWS: 2012

While wrapping your holiday presents, don’t forget about another regulatory gift that springs to life as of the new year: Rule 193 and the accompanying joys of Items 1111(a)(7) and 1111(a)(8) of Reg AB. The final rules for Dodd-Frank’s Section 945 – which we at have addressed before – are almost a year old and their effects are coming to a public transaction near you by requiring “issuers” (1) to perform (or have a third party perform) a due diligence review of a deal’s underlying assets with the aim of reasonably assuring that disclosure included in the related offering documents is materially accurate and (2) to disclose in offering documents the nature of the review, any findings or conclusions of the review and any details regarding assets that deviate from the disclosed underwriting criteria. And this is a gift that keeps on giving.Continue Reading A Dodd-Frank Holiday Reminder: Ribbons, Reindeer and Rule 193

I just can’t schedule enough time in my day to worry about all the things that seem to demand to be worried about. As I write, this week the Dow closed 630+ down one day and bounced 600 points the next. Yikes.  Between that, the debt ceiling and downgrades, Dodd-Frank, the interminable drumbeat of hostility towards Wall Street and business coming out of the White House, the mess in Europe, the falling dollar, insanely low interest rates, high unemployment, the fact that somehow corporate America seems to still be earning bucket loads of money, and, in general the discomfiting disconnect between our still positive every day deal world and the angst, anxiety and drumbeat of awful news in the macro market, what should we think?  It makes my hair hurt.

But, drawing on my deep and boundless reserve of existential anxiety, I’ve now found a few free moments to worry about the SEC’s new re-proposal on shelf eligibility for asset-backed securities. This missive was released (pdf) on July 26, 2011, and comments are due by October 4, 2011. Continue Reading It Just Gets Better and Better: Reg AB Redux

As the CMBS market begins to get its feet underneath it, a number of folks have begun to pine for the public markets. Since 2009, every CMBS deal has been issued as a 144A (or otherwise privately placed). The public market is beginning to feel like a memory. While there seems to have been relatively robust demand for product, a number of bankers say that demand is still somewhat constrained in the 144A institutional market place. They fondly remember the benefits of the public market: liquidity, better pricing, a wider investor pool. As the market rebounds, these bankers suggest that it may be time to dust off the shelves.

And so we thought it would be useful to revisit that bid and ask. For this purpose, we’ll assume that the hypothetical banker is right and that there are significant benefits to be obtained by reanimation of the public deal zombie. That’s the bid.

Here’s the ask. First, there’s that pesky little liability issue. The liability exposure for bankers and sponsors in the 144A market is less than in a public (registered) deal. No liability under Sections 11 and 12 of the Securities Act. That liability is generally pretty absolute (as to non-expertized info) subject only to a diligence defense. Liability in the private market is limited to 10b-5. The need to prove scienter and reliance in a 10b-5 action is a significant burden for an aggrieved investor. The difference in exposure to liability is a distinction not to be sniffed at. Yes, of course we always mean to get the disclosure right. But the underlying assets are complex and there’s an undeniable hunger among the plaintiffs’ bar to “discover” disclosure defects where honest folks, acting in good faith, thought adequate disclosure had been made. (Note also how much more ominous the enhanced liability exposure in public deals will be after FinReg and its progeny become law. As disclosure gets more complex and elaborate, the opportunities to stumble into liability grow exponentially.)Continue Reading So You Really Want To Do A Public Deal?