Party, Commiseration at Unique Fundraiser

Let’s be honest — this year has been beyond unkind to anyone in the mortgage markets. And while much of the press has gone to the front-lines of the mortgage business, the folks involved in the real capital behind the industry have had it just as bad: the mortgage traders and analysts that provided much of the backbone for a now extinct private-party securitization market. Last night, a couple of hundred former and still-hanging-on mortgage traders and others gathered in New York City for a Halloween charity event known as “Refi Rock,” with a rock concert featuring bands comprised of various mortgage and bond traders and analysts. The event raised more than $50,000 for the H.G.I. Foundation, which supports children’s charities, and the Boomer Esiason Foundation for cystic fibrosis research. The officially-unsanctioned event was organized by J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.’s (JPM) Russell Middleton, who has been kind enough to correspond with HW regularly on the event in recent weeks. Demand for the event was high among those in the suddenly close-knit Wall Street mortgage crowd, as the event turned into a way to let off some steam while also commiserating about market conditions. Reuter’s Al Yoon reported on the event and interviewed attendees, and his story is very much worth reading; it gives a more human face to a side of the business that has suffered nearly silently throughout this crisis. And it shows how much the business has changed in recent months; these are usually traders that compete ruthlessly with each other, but many have lost their jobs as the market for private-party (and even agency) MBS has ground to a halt. “More than eight bands representing JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Credit Suisse and others belted out hits from U2, the Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen at the sold-out B.B. King Blues Club & Grill club,” Yoon writes. “The bands included Credit Suisse’s ‘Aged Inventory,’ a group led by Michael Marriott, global head of the firm’s structured product business. Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Marathon Asset Management banded together to form ‘BOC.'” “I was going to give out a prize for scariest costume, but I was afraid somebody might dress up as a CDO,” he told Reuters’ Yoon. (Which, of course, means that my own Halloween costume is now out of the bag.) Write to Paul Jackson at

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