CMBS Banking vs Structuring >> HF

Between a CMBS banking role (i.e. interfacing with loan sellers, NRSROs, etc.. to bring a securitization to market) or a CMBS structuring role (i.e. modeling cash flows based on NRSRO levels and various b-buyer stipulations), which is better to ultimately make the move to a credit hedge fund?

Secondly, would pairing a CFA with either role be helpful to make the jump to the buy side?

Appreciate any insight.

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Comments (2)

Jul 20, 2016 - 9:55am

Here are my thoughts based on the shop I work at:

The role you are describing as CMBS Banking is likely a capital markets role - I was in that role for a bit and unfortunately, if the responsibilities that you are describing is all that you are doing, you don't learn anything tangible or modeling skills - its mostly 'grunt work' at the junior levels and while you do gain 'soft skills' and a deeper understanding of the securitization docs, you don't gain much more especially w/o prior underwriting experience. There are roles and tasks in the Capital Markets role that are more analytical such as getting on haircut calls with the rating agencies and trying to reduce the haircuts/get tighter cap rates - but folks who do that usually come from rating agency backgrounds or were underwriters before. I have rarely seen people start off as analysis in capital markets and rise above anything above associates (before leaving, transferring groups, etc.) though I am sure there are exceptions.

CMBS structurers, also known as primary traders, are responsible for pricing loans and helping shape the deal pool, as well as hedge loans, etc. Ive always thought that was an interesting role but also fairly niche within CMBS.

And what kind of 'buyside' are you referring to? If you are talking about trading bonds, I have seen people get into that space with all sorts of CRE backgrounds (even capital markets - though less so). If you are talking about buying properties/the equity side, it gets tough to break into the space from the debt side, unless you have a sub-debt background.

Again, just my thoughts, I am sure there are exceptions to everything and the biggest thing in this industry that helps is networking.

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