A&O, Cleary, Mayer Brown gain superfund instructions

Allen & Overy (A&O), Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and Mayer Brown have secured lead roles advising on the proposed mortgage securities superfund, which has been designed to help alleviate the impact of the credit crunch.

A&O and Mayer Brown are advising the three structuring banks, Citigroup, Bank of America (BoA) and JPMorgan, while Cleary is advising the banks providing the liquidity the fund will require.

A&O, Citigroup’s longstanding structured investment vehicle adviser, is being led by capital markets partner Geoff Fuller and securitisation partner David Krischer in London.

Mayer Brown Chicago-based securitisation partner and conduit specialist Jason Kravitt is leading the firm’s team, while New York-based David Sugerman is heading the team at Cleary. The $75bn (£36.63bn) superfund, known as the MLEC, aims to acquire assets from volatile investment vehicles struggling to keep afloat in current market conditions.

The fund plans to help the vehicles avoid placing mortgage-backed securities into the market, which would result in prices being driven down even further.

At present Citigroup, BoA and JPMorgan are in the process of recruiting liquidity banks, which will play a crucial role in providing a portion of the $75bn total.

It has been reported that Dresdner Kleinwort, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and Wachovia have all expressed an interest in playing parts in the syndicate.

It is thought that the structuring banks are also hoping that HSBC will participate.