September 13, 2017 Alert - SFIG Staff to Attend ABS East

Dear friends and structured finance industry colleagues:

Over the last several days SFIG has been engaged in countless conversations with its membership, specifically contemplating concerns expressed around participation in the forthcoming ABS East conference.

First, we want to extend our most sincere best wishes and prayers to all those impacted by Hurricane Irma. Miami especially has been a good friend to the Structured Finance industry, and the industry is united in wishing both the city and the entire state of Florida, a swift return to normalcy.

To be clear, ABS East is a conference run solely under the control of IMN, and SFIG does not have any part in any decision making processes. Similarly, while we are an advocate for all our membership's interest, we do not feel it is appropriate to give direction to any specific members.

However, as the leading trade association representing the securitization industry, we believe it is important to inform you of our plans and how we made our own determination.

The staff of SFIG will be attending the conference and doing our best to support our members who do elect to attend, our partners at IMN and perhaps most importantly the residents and workers of Miami and Miami Beach.

Our decision is based on the three key factors:

  1. A statement from the Mayor Philip Levine of the City of Miami Beach, "The City of Miami Beach is proud to welcome the delegation of the 23rd Annual ABS East conference and we are thankful for the support of the securitization industry in light of the challenges our city and the state of Florida have faced in recent days. Thanks to proactive planning, sound infrastructure and expeditious clean-up efforts, we are ready and excited to host this important event and look forward to welcoming you to our city. We thank you for patronizing our local businesses and showing your support at such a critical time."
  2. Assurances from the Fontainebleau the property is ready and capable of welcoming the industry.
  3. Consideration that the economic benefit of the conference is important now for the City and its residents. For example, we understand from the Fontainebleau that approximately 2100 of their employees are paid on an hourly basis, so without a conference those employees may suffer a loss of income, at precisely the time they may need it to help recover from the event.

To further that most important objective of supporting the city and its residents, we are making two key changes to our agenda:

i) SFIG will make a contribution of $100,000 to relief efforts, and

ii) SFIG will be actively partnering with IMN to seek opportunities for members to support relief efforts at a "hands on" level. We are still exploring all available opportunities for on the ground involvement and look forward to providing additional feedback in short order.

We fully sympathize with our members' concerns around the conference. The dilemma presented to the industry is extremely challenging:

i) Come to the conference and run the risk that the infrastructure is not ready and risk potential negative media and local reaction for not being sensitive to the situation, or

ii) Avoid the conference and run the same risk of negative media and local reaction associated with deserting the City of Miami and Miami Beach in its time of need.

This dilemma is one that each member firm should evaluate for themselves based on their own internal deliberations.

Meanwhile, for those members that do elect to come to Miami, we look forward to seeing you there and for those who elect otherwise, we fully understand your position and look forward to seeing you at the next conference.

Should you have any questions relating to SFIG's position or if you have interest in getting involved in our relief outreach, please reach out to info@sfindustry.org or call the SFIG mainline at (202) 524-6300. 

With best wishes.

Sincerely,

Richard Johns

Executive Director, Structured Finance Industry Group

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