Financial Guaranty Insurance Company is getting ready to compete in the European market by staffing up its London office and has hired Rick Watson, the former head of European asset-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations at HSBC. The story was first reported last Tuesday on BW's website. Watson starts next week at FGIC as head of structured finance, according to Tim Travers, ceo of FGIC UK and senior managing director for international and global utilities.
Also joining the monoline insurer are Robert Velins, who started roughly two weeks ago from MBIA Inc. as head of the infrastructure business. And Glenn Fox, another public finance infrastructure professional, will join from MBIA in the coming weeks, said Travers. For his part, Travers plans to relocate to London from the U.S. later this summer as part of the European push. "The market in Europe is experiencing robust growth, with new ways of using wraps emerging. For example, on toll roads, airports and water utilities. We're seeing strong investor demand for a fourth insurer and swap counterparty," he explained.
Watson's departure from HSBC comes after the firm's recent hire of Scott Dickens from Bear Stearns as European head of ABS and structured bonds (BW, 5/17).