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The Industry Pulse: Updates on Morningstar and More …

From acquisitions to new partnerships and appointments, click through to learn the latest industry buzz.

Morningstar, Inc., a provider of independent investment research, recently announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire DBRS for a purchase price of $669 million. The combination of DBRS with Morningstar Credit Ratings’ U.S. business will expand global asset class coverage and provide an enhanced platform for providing investors with leading fixed-income analysis and research.

“The chance to empower investors with the independent research and opinions they need across a multitude of securities first drove our decision to enter the credit ratings business,” said Morningstar CEO Kunal Kapoor. “DBRS and Morningstar share research-centric cultures committed to rigor and independence. Together, we believe we can elevate the industry with the world’s first fintech ratings agency backed by state-of-the-art models, modern technology, and expert research teams that issuers and investors can count on to deliver transparent and independent ratings.”

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Franklin MortgageGateway First Bank has announced Natalia Coen as its Chief Compliance OfficerIn this role, Coen will be responsible for planning, developing, and managing the execution of a compliance management system and any related initiatives. She will also advise senior management, the board of directors, and any necessary committees of new laws and regulatory concerns. The bank said that Coen will serve as a member of the risk and compliance committee and will oversee the compliance management processes for Gateway. Additionally, she will draft and implement compliance policies for the company and provide support and assistance to ensure compliance with applicable laws, regulations and regulatory guidance.

“Natalia is an accomplished compliance professional who has a proven ability to lead and manage teams and projects,” said Scott Gesell, Chief Administrative Officer of Gateway. “Her extensive knowledge of banking services, consumer compliance issues, processes, regulatory requirements and more will make her a strong asset to Gateway as we continue our transition in the banking space. We are excited to have her join the team.”

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Two technology companies in the housing industry announced a new partnership. Iowa-based LenderClose has integrated Simplifile, which functions as an electronic liaison between lenders and county recording offices. Simplifile has deployed its e-recording platform in 50% of all U.S. recording jurisdictions and plans to help the remaining 50 percent realize e-recording benefits in 2019.

“We cannot afford to lose sight of the borrower experience,” said LenderClose COO Ben Rempe. “That’s why we have placed such a high priority on putting the right technology and integrations into the hands of lending staff. When they are empowered to exceed expectations, the borrower experience is automatically improved.”

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AIBoston-based OpenLTV, which offers fractional investing in loans secured by the U.S. real estate has launched an investment platform, as well as a partnership with Paxos, a company focused on rebuilding the infrastructure of finance through blockchain. The company said that it is building a transparent passive income platform for investors seeking to benefit from exposure to U.S. real estate-backed debt, and will begin accepting the Paxos stable coin. OpenLTV said that its platform enables investors to earn a passive income collateralized by the U.S. real estate, without actually owning the property. Users will be able to invest using cryptocurrency and earn 8-12% return per year.

About Author: Radhika Ojha

Radhika Ojha is an independent writer and copy-editor, and a reporter for DS News. She is a graduate of the University of Pune, India, where she received her B.A. in Commerce with a concentration in Accounting and Marketing and an M.A. in Mass Communication. Upon completion of her masters degree, Ojha worked at a national English daily publication in India (The Indian Express) where she was a staff writer in the cultural and arts features section. Ojha, also worked as Principal Correspondent at HT Media Ltd and at Honeywell as an executive in corporate communications. She and her husband currently reside in Houston, Texas.
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