Countrywide Securities has hired three veteran mortgage-backed securities traders to bolster or set up separate trading operations at its Carlsblad, Calif., headquarters. Ken Haim and Les Kozma have joined the firm already. Raoul Viadianath joins today. Haim and Kozma move over from Citigroup; Viadianath comes from Credit Suisse First Boston. Haim was a "pretty senior guy" at Citigroup, according to one competitor, and will be tasked with starting up an agency-backed collateralized mortgage obligation desk at the firm. Ron Kripalani, Countrywide's president, says "we are really serious about branching out into this area and we're going to give him the manpower and capital he needs to make it work." Haim was unavailable to comment.
Kozma was a whole-loan trader and structurer at Citigroup and will report to Kevin Doyle and Jeff Staab, heads of the firm's whole loan and asset-backed securities group. Viadianath, who traded second-lien mortgages at CSFB, will be trading fixed-rate and whole-loan ABS. At CSFB, where one individual says he was both a structurer and trader--"a one man trading desk"--he reported to CMO chief Marc Tecotzky. A CSFB executive sys the vacancy has been filled internally.