Structured finance: Theresa May finally gets her deal

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Expect the unexpected with the former PM at a Vegas bunfight.

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January brought the slightly unnerving news that ex-UK prime minister Theresa May has been signed up to speak at the structured finance industry’s biggest annual bunfight, the SFVegas conference, which takes place in Las Vegas on February 23 to 26.

The event, appropriately held in one of Las Vegas’s largest casinos, is best known outside the industry for its appearance in the 2015 movie The Big Short, in which it was cast in a less than favourable light as a huge meeting of charlatan financiers ready to fleece their own grandmothers.

Perhaps proving that even securitization professionals are capable of some self-reflection, the author of the book on which the film is based, Michael Lewis, spoke at the conference last year.

The event is also famous within the ABS community for hosting a discussion on women in the industry in 2017 in which all of the participants bar the moderator were men.

High-ranking females

May is joined on the ticket by Donna Brazile, former interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, and Kyrsten Sinema, Democratic senator for Arizona.

Who knew so many high-ranking female politicians have a thirst for greater knowledge of tranching and over-collateralization? Let’s hope the stage set manages to stay together for the whole proceedings.

Euromoney awaits May’s observations with interest: “I’ve been very clear that ABS CDOs have been a strong and stable asset class and that it’s time to put aside division and uncertainty in the national interest and come together to deliver the deal that is on the table.”

Perhaps a one-on-one fireside chat will draw more from the notoriously reserved member of parliament about her interest in this asset class:

Interviewer: “What is the naughtiest thing you have ever done?”

Theresa May [long pause]: “I was going to say running through wheat fields, but on reflection I think it was that time that I repackaged a basket of non-performing mortgage assets into a collateralized debt obligation that I sold to clients while telling my colleagues that it was a pile of crap and to short the hell out of it.”

Interviewer: “That was not the answer I expected.”