LONDON, Aug. 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Starwood Property Trust (NYSE: STWD) subsidiary Hatfield Philips International Limited (the "Company"), one of Europe's largest primary and special servicers with approximately £18.5 billion assets under management, today announced that Fitch Ratings upgraded its Special Servicer rating to 'CSS2' from 'CSS2-' and affirmed its Primary Servicer rating at 'CPS2'. With the upgrade, Hatfield is among the highest rated Special Servicers in the United Kingdom.
"Fitch's upgrade is a strong affirmation of our continuous efforts to enhance operational capabilities as well as our industry leadership in improving transparency in the marketplace," said Matthias Schlueter, Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of Hatfield Philips. "We understand our reputation as one of the most trusted names in European loan servicing is our greatest asset and will continue to invest in areas that allow us to best serve our clients and continue to set the standard for the industry."
In announcing the upgrade of Hatfield's Special Servicer rating Fitch noted the Company's efforts over the past year to further enhance its already robust servicing capabilities. A key initiative recognized by Fitch is Hatfield's consolidation of its primary and special servicing teams into one loan asset management team. The change effectively streamlines the transfer process and creates case ownership by assigning one asset manager responsible for overseeing a loan from boarding to resolution.
Furthermore, Fitch's upgrade acknowledges Hatfield's commitment to providing maximum transparency and commends its comprehensive and detailed communication with investors on performing and non-performing loans. Fitch also credited the Company's efforts to develop an online portal that will enable investors to access comprehensive data and information on all loans that are currently in Special Servicing with Hatfield.
"With this positive upgrade, Hatfield Philips continues to establish itself as Europe's pre-eminent commercial real estate loan servicer," said Andrew Sossen, Chief Operating Officer of Starwood Property Trust. "Our focus remains on providing Hatfield Philips with the resources necessary to enhance its industry leading platform, support its transparency initiative and position the enterprise for future growth."
In examining its organizational structure, Fitch highlights that Hatfield's team of experienced professionals, consisting of in-house lawyers and specialists with broad finance and real estate expertise, ensures a consistent service standard. The Company currently employs over 120 commercial real estate servicing professionals located throughout Europe providing it with the local market knowledge and scale to best serve its diverse Pan-European client base.
In its review, Fitch notes Hatfield's investment in technology and infrastructure development as a key strength affording the Company robust compliance and monitoring systems that support an already strong governance framework. To ensure an optimal client experience, Hatfield plans to continually refine its innovative approach to loan servicing to evolve with the changing regulatory environment.
Highlighting Hatfield's practical special servicing experience, Fitch cited the Company's success resolving four UK loans and 11 EU loans in 2012.
About Starwood Property Trust, Inc. Starwood Property Trust, Inc. is focused on originating, investing in, financing and managing commercial mortgage loans and other commercial real estate debt investments, commercial mortgage-backed securities ("CMBS"), and other commercial real estate-related debt investments. The Company through its 2013 acquisition of LNR Property LLC ("LNR") now also operates as special servicer in the United States and a primary and special servicer in Europe and has expanded its product offering to include fixed rate conduit loans. Starwood Property Trust, Inc. also invests in residential mortgage-backed securities ("RMBS") and residential real estate owned, and may invest in non-performing loans, commercial properties subject to net leases and residential mortgage loans. The Company is externally managed and advised by SPT Management, LLC, an affiliate of Starwood Capital Group, and has elected to be taxed as a real estate investment trust for U.S. federal income tax purposes.
About Hatfield Philips International Ltd: Hatfield Philips International is one of Europe's largest primary and special servicer with approximately £18.5 billion assets under management. Since its inception in 1997, the Company has established itself as a full-service loan servicer, offering a complete suite of products and services to a wide range of clients that issue, own or invest in commercial mortgage backed securities and loan portfolios. Hatfield Philips is a subsidiary of LNR Property, a United States-based real estate investment, finance, management and development firm, which was acquired by Starwood Property Trust (NYSE: STWD) in January 2013.
SOURCE Starwood Property Trust