Calyon re-builds ABS team

France''s biggest bank plans Asian securitization push.

Calyon, the investment banking arm of Credit Agricole, is re-building its Asian asset-backed team. The French bank has hired Greg Park, himself a former Credit Lyonnais banker, and plans to take on established ABS houses such as Deutsche Bank and UBS.

Park previously ran an award-winning ABS team at CSFB in Hong Kong, after taking over from Raj Shourie in 2001, but left last month amid speculation the bank was closing down its asset-backed operations in Asia ex-Japan. Officially, it "remains committed to the ABS product", according to a spokesperson, but Park's position is not being replaced.

Instead, responsibility for ABS is now being passed to Jon Pratt, head of debt capital markets for non-Japan Asia. "It allows for a more integrated platform," says the spokesperson. "We can leverage off the credit ratings expertise and resources in Japan and Australia."

Since Park left Credit Lyonnais, now operating under the Calyon brand, the bank's ABS franchise continued to work on transactions but has not thrived. Meanwhile, over at CSFB, Park was working on KEB Card and LG Card, as well as a CDO for Kotec and a KDIC deal jointly with SG.

However, since the meltdown among Korean consumer finance companies the market has become intensely competitive and, with too many banks chasing too few deals, it has been tough for anyone to prosper.

In his new role Park will build a team focusing on asset-backed and residential mortgage-backed securities, as well as collateralized loans. Neither Calyon nor Park has commented on whether the rest of the CSFB team will also be joining. Park will continue to be based out of Hong Kong, but will report into Tokyo to Jean Marc Winand, head of investment banking.

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