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How Low Can Yields Go?

March 3, 2015

4:00 - 7:00 pm

Bloomberg Headquarters

Please join PRMIA and Bloomberg for a panel discussion on the recent sharp fall in interest rates in recent months, the factors driving the market and the outlook for interest rates.  Hear directly from the discussion panelists whether US yields can establish and sustain new generational lows or do they "liftoff" on the back of stronger data.


  • Harley Bassman - Portfolio Manager, PIMCO
  • Henson Orser, Head of Global Markets Sales Americas
  • James Sweeney - Chief Economist, Credit Suisse


  • Tom Keene - Editor-at-Large, Bloomberg Television and Radio

Panel discussion will begin promptly at 4:45 pm


Harley Bassman, Portfolio Manager, PIMCO created, marketed and traded a wide variety of derivative and structured products during his twenty six year career at Merrill Lynch.  In 1985 he created the OPOSSMS mortgage options product that facilitated risk transmission between MBS originators and financial institutions.  In 1988, he assumed responsibility for trading and marketing IO/PO and other levered prepayment securities.  Soon after this, he started purchasing RTC auctioned MBS Servicing rights and repackaged them for the securities market as BIGS - Beneficial Interests in GNMA Servicing.  Later, he started a GNMA servicing conduit becoming one of the Top 20 originators in 1992.  As managing and hedging prepayment risk became a priority focus for the financial markets, Mr. Bassman created PRESERV, Merrill's trademarked Prepayment Cap product. Merrill was a leader in this product category writing protection that covered the risk on tens of billions of notional mortgage servicing rights.  Later, Mr. Bassman managed Merrill's initial venture into off-balance sheet mortgage trading.

In 1994, Mr. Bassman assumed responsibility for OTC bond options.  Within a year, Merrill was the leader in this product sector.  A wide variety of products were offered including vanilla and complex options on MBS spreads and the Treasury yield curve.  From 1995 to 2000 he focused on creating hedge strategies for MBS servicers and portfolio optimization techniques for Total Return and Index investors.

Mr. Bassman became the manager of North American MBS and Structured Finance trading in 2001.  During his tenure, he created SURF, (Specialty Underwriting and Residential Finance), a self-contained Sub-Prime mortgage conduit.  He supervised the issuance of Merrill’s first Sub-Prime securities. He also transitioned the structuring business to a new technology platform.

In 2006 he built the RateLab, a full spectrum US Rates Trading Desk Strategy Group.  Here he worked with investors to advise and optimize their risk exposure.  As a key member of the client trading business, he facilitated activity by providing liquidity to both the firm’s clients and market makers. After a (too) brief sabbatical, Mr. Bassman joined Credit Suisse's Global Rates business where he identified and integrated investment and hedging opportunities for sophisticated investors.

Mr. Bassman has recently been hired as an Executive Vice President and Portfolio Manager at PIMCO - a leading global investment management firm.  He will be based in Newport Beach, California. Mr. Bassman has a B.A. in management science from the University of California, San Diego and an MBA in finance and marketing from the University of Chicago.

Tom Keene is an editor-at-large at Bloomberg News and host of "Bloomberg Surveillance," Bloomberg's morning program where the day's conversation on economics, finance and investment begins. Keene can be heard on "Bloomberg Surveillance" starting at 6 AM/ET across Bloomberg Television, Radio, and Bloomberg's devices for mobile and tablets. Join in for an in-depth discussion with the world's smartest guests. In addition to his work on "Bloomberg Surveillance," Keene provides economic and investment perspective to Bloomberg Television and to Bloomberg's various news divisions. Keene also founded the "Chart of the Day" article, available on the Bloomberg Professional Service. Keene is editor "Flying on One Engine: The Bloomberg Book of Master Market Economists," published in 2005. (Two chapters appeared in the CFA Institute curriculum.) Keene is a graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology and is enrolled in courses at the external program of the London School of Economics & Political Science. Keene is a Chartered Financial Analyst and a member of the CFA Institute, the National Association for Business Economics, the American Economic Association and the Economic Club of New York.

Henson Orser, Managing Director, is Head of Global Markets Americas Sales at Nomura, the global investment bank.  His responsibilities include leading the division’s client on-boarding, marketing, and distribution efforts.  Henson has more than 20 years of industry experience.

Prior to joining Nomura in 2012, Henson spent 16 years at RBS, where he was most recently, Head of USD Rates Sales in the Americas.  Before RBS, he worked in Fixed Income Sales at PaineWebber and prior to that, in Institutional Futures and Options at Lehman Brothers.  He began his career in Municipal Bonds Sales at Lebenthal & Co.

He holds a BA in Economics and Political Science from Princeton University.

James Sweeney is a Managing Director of Credit Suisse in the Investment Banking division, based in New York. He is the Chief Economist for the Investment Bank and Co-Head of Global Economics and Strategy. In this role, he heads both the US Economics team and the Global Strategy and Economics team. James joined Credit Suisse in 2000, having previously worked as a political speechwriter.

James holds a M.Sc. in Economics from the London School of Economics and a B.S. magna cum laude from Florida State University. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Economic Club of New York, and a John C. Whitehead Fellow of the Foreign Policy Association.


If you are an existing Bloomberg terminal customer, please contact Caroline Joyce at




March 3rd, 2015 4:00 PM   through   7:00 PM
Bloomberg Headquarters
731 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10022
United States
New York
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