AmeriCatalyst / EuroCatalyst History
EuroCatalyst and AmeriCatalyst have a 20-year history as producers of the most innovative, enlightening series of think tanks focused on the state of the housing ecosystem, from Europe to the United States. Here is their timeline:
2000: EuroCatalyst BV
Toni Moss, based in the Netherlands (Naarden, specifically), establishes EuroCatalyst BV, which quickly becomes a clearinghouse for European mortgage market information, providing private research and advisory services for cross-border and new market entrants. The company addresses the growing need for more comprehensive marketing and communications services within the European mortgage and housing finance industries, taking into account the potential for more substantial cross-border transactions within the newly emerging “single market” for financial services in the European Union and its newly minted currency.
2001: The Tipping Point
EuroCatalyst creates momentum for a single communication platform in the markets by crisscrossing the European continent with a road show that brings together Toni’s personal network, extensive knowledge, and understanding of all of the individual markets that make up “Europe.” The dialogue moves from a national to a pan-European basis, and Toni is identified as “the tipping point” for changing the industry.
2002: Community Precedes Commerce
EuroCatalyst launches a single event that brings together the full value chain and entire funding spectrum and creates a pan-European community for housing finance, integrating all of its players and stakeholders on a level playing field based on idea that “community precedes commerce.” The inaugural event, EuroCatalyst 2002, is held in Madrid, Spain.
2003: National Market Road Shows
EuroCatalyst creates national market road shows throughout the year to promote the annual event, raising the caliber of the dialogue and debate while maintaining its independence and neutrality. We expanded the content, redefined the context and eliminated the politics. EuroCatalyst 2003 was held in Lisbon, Portugal.
2004: IN FOCUS
EuroCatalyst enhances specific sectors of the value chain by creating a new event paradigm (the IN FOCUS series), which focuses on diversifying the investor base in regional markets for specific asset classes. In 2004, we hold our first IN FOCUS event in Frankfurt, Germany (the home of the Pfandbrief), as a marketing mandate on behalf of the issuers of Nordic covered bonds. The EuroCatalyst event moves to Berlin for EuroCatalyst 2005.
After the continued success of its EuroCatalyst event, EuroCatalyst launches a second, specialized event, EuropeServicing, to address the growing need for better mortgage servicing, processing, and administrative processes for a European market that had now, for better or worse, fully embraced mortgage-backed securities alongside covered bonds. EuropeServicing 2005 is the first European event to bring together lenders, intermediaries, investors, servicers, technology providers, law firms, structures, arrangers, asset managers, and credit agencies to discuss servicing in an open, public forum. One of the main advertisements for the event included the phrase, “Sure, Europe has witnessed unprecedented growth in mortgage lending over the past 5 years. But portfolios are seasoning and operational losses can no longer be offset against rising house prices. Where will you run to maximize your growth and minimize your risk?”
Also, in 2005, EuroCatalyst brought doom and gloom to certain sectors of the market by discussing, rather loudly on stage at EuroCatalyst 2005: LIVE FROM ROME, fears that those seasoned portfolios of risky lending, combined with high interest rates, were about to hit the fan.
2006 sees the the second year of the EuropeServicing event. The two-day gathering takes place at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in London and reflects its venue by organizing each session around a film title and clip. The final session of the event, “ ’Crash’: When High Street meets Wall Street in The City, which way do you turn?” continues the dialogue from the controversial session that closed the event the previous year, “Fighting in the food chain and survival of the fittest”.
In October, EuroCatalyst returns to Madrid for the final installment of the EuroCatalyst series with an invitation-only, closed-door discussion on a variety of topics including the sub-prime meltdown and the world of shadow banking. EuroCatalyst 2007 opens with a special keynote presentation by Pat Butler, Head of European Financial Practices for McKinsey & Co., titled “From the subprime to the ridiculous”; the entire day scrutinizes lending practices on a global basis with the intention to uncover what went wrong, ask who — if anyone — is to blame for the market crisis, and finally, how to re-position the markets.
More than 200 people participate in the third EuropeServicing event in London in 2008. A “Who’s Who” of the global mortgage industry, the audience includes lenders from Spain, the UK, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and France, packagers from the UK, commercial and residential servicers from the UK, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Spain and Belgium, investors from the UK, the Netherlands and the United States, trustees from the UK, analysts from the top ratings agencies, and lawyers and intermediaries from across Europe.
The program covers a myriad of issues affecting both commercial and residential mortgage servicing in Europe, culminating in the hugely popular “Blow-Up” session, which debates the purchase and servicing of distressed assets in Europe. The entire event is themed, yet again, around movies, and is titled, “ ’Vertigo’: Mortgage servicing, processing and administration in a world off-balance.”
Keeping an eye on the most significant developments allows us to make a meaningful difference. So in 2009, EuroCatalyst principals relocate to the United States, establishing a project office in Austin, Texas, while maintaining its presence in Europe. We merge our annual EuroCatalyst and EuropeServicing events into a single event called Distressed Servicing 2009/EuroCatalyst 2009 Live: from Austin. The event marks the first appearance of investor Kyle Bass of Hayman Capital Management on the EuroCatalyst/AmeriCatalyst stage.
AmeriCatalyst LLC is launched from the seeds of development laid by EuroCatalyst BV. With the goal of turning perceptions of the industry "Inside out," we host AmeriCatalyst 2010 with an eye on revealing the dynamics of much larger forces that would magnify risk, accelerate instability and therefore require constant adaptations of market structure moving forward. In that context we evaluated the viability and effectiveness of legislative, regulatory, and private proposals to rebuild the current U.S. housing finance system.
In the absence of a single, industry-wide solution, AmeriCatalyst decides in 2011 to feature at the annual event CONVERGENCE AC 2011 four of the most practical and viable proposals from different sectors of the industry to move mortgage markets forward. AmeriCatalyst 2011's theme of “convergence” referred to the delicate state of interdependence in a globalized world which impacts the strategy of all firms involved in the mortgage lifecycle and requires changing the way we think and interact with clients and competitors both locally and globally.
2012 marks the 10th anniversary of the EuroCatalyst/AmeriCatalyst annual series. The theme is “The Entanglement,” which we view as the latest stage of globalization whereby our national socioeconomic and political destinies – and survival – are inextricably wed. Each session of the program directly addresses how our interdependence impacts the housing and housing finance industry from a “big picture” global macroeconomic perspective, to a national and international regulatory perspective, to the microeconomics of the mortgage lifecycle, from products and origination to funding and servicing. As a special bonus, we add a “micro-conference” focused on the emerging REO-to-Rental sector, onto the main event. AmeriCatalyst IN FOCUS: Renting The Future is an instant hit.
In light of significant signs of industry-wide and economic recovery, until early summer, we used the working title, "Turning Point," as the theme for AmeriCatalyst 2013. In many ways, it did appear that the worst is behind us. However, in the dynamic evolution of creating the program for 2013, we found that "Turning Point" didn't quite capture what is really happening in the world around us, and in our industry. The editorial theme and narrative for the 2012 event was “RORSCHACH”.
RENTING THE FUTURE immediately followed the AmeriCatalyst 2013: RORSCHACH event for several reasons. AmeriCatalyst 2013: RORSCHACH was focused on the impact of globalization on the housing finance industry, and RENTING THE FUTURE was focused on the Single Family Rental Sector. Both sectors are converging through the emergence of a non-linear spectrum of housing options including rental and homeownership, therefore the content converges from one event to the other. Those receiving invitations are able to participate in one, the other, or both events. From a practical perspective, sharing the same stage enables us to bring down the costs for participants for what is a very unique and hand-made event.
2014 marks the 12th anniversary of the EUROCATALYST/AMERICATALYST series of events. The theme of TIGHTROPE follows closely on the previous themes of THE ENTANGLEMENT (2012), focused on the global shift from independence to interdependence in all aspects of our industry (as well as everything else that matters); and RORSCHACH (2013), which addressed increasing confusion and lack of consensus among experts regarding what was actually happening in the market. In 2014, the lack of clarity and consensus on the market’s status and direction has never been greater. One thing, however, is very clear: Something quite profound, and frankly, quite ominous, was happening. We were all walking a very thin line across an industry that is entirely up in the air. Our program in 2014 was designed to give our audience the facts, ideas, insight and access to reach solid ground. 2014 also marks the third year of presenting RENTING THE FUTURE, which is focused on shaping the viability and supporting the sustainability of the Single-Family Rental sector. Starting in 2014, we editorialized the event title even further, adding a comma to RENTING, THE FUTURE. Given the topics to be discussed in TIGHTROPE sessions, and consistent onstage predictions in 2013, we envisioned a strong and accelerating decline in homeownership moving forward, leaving rental as the only viable housing option for what will become the majority of Americans. After four seasons, the AmeriCatalyst event moves venues from Barton Creek Resort and Spa to Austin’s Moody Theater, home of Austin City Limits.
For 2015, emphasizing housing as an ecosystem, as opposed to specific sectors, we fold Renting The Future, our annual Single-Family Rental gathering, under the AMERICATALYST umbrella, creating a program that combined the leading players from housing finance, Single-Family Rental, and residential real estate in each session. It has never been done before, thus the challenge is to create a program that makes each session relevant and compelling to all three constituents. AMERICATALYST 2015 | RUBICON: No Turning Back, was held from September 27 – 29 at the Austin Hilton in downtown Austin, Texas. “Rubicon” is a metaphor that derives from the actual crossing of the Rubicon river in Italy by the army of Julius Caesar, designating the commitment to a strategy and consequences of a point of no return. Through the event, we continue to stress the need for everyone - at every level of our industry - to understand the bigger picture in which our industry functions, to become aware of the forces that drive the opportunity ahead of us, and to prepare for the change, transformation and volatility that threatens our success and survival. This is why AMERICATALYST focuses on what happens next and how it will impact the entire industry ecosystem - rather than on the past and present issues of which we are all already aware.
2016: Fast Forward - What Happens Next
In the 14th year of the event, the AmeriCatalyst principals, hoping to lift the mortgage industry suffering from by general malaise during a frantic election year, theme the event "FAST FORWARD: What Happens Next." Host and Curator Toni Moss says, "One of the most difficult things about creating the program for this event each year is the ubiquitous nature of the housing ecosystem." It is literally affected by everything, she said, adding that everything is affected by it. In the course of putting together the year’s topics and sessions, Toni spent months researching “the future”: the future of central banking; the future of banking; the future of government; the future of regulation; the future of capitalism and economic ideologies; the future of employment; the future of technology, future demographics, and the future of climate change among other issues. "I hate to spoil the plot," she said, "but the future is pretty daunting to say the least. At least two sessions this year have the word ‘crisis’ in their subtitles, and perhaps my snarkiest title ever - which I was dared to do - says it all: One Trick Pony: A Bucking Fed Throws Off the Housing Market."
The forces of globalization have altered the structure of states, the nature of economies, our basic institutions, our ideals, the way that we live, and the way that we finance how we live. It encompasses such fundamental and radical changes to our existence that it shifts our knowledge of the world to what we don’t know, rather than what we do know. In short, globalization renders the words “unprecedented” and “unintended consequences” redundant.
This year, Toni sees something new replacing globalization, which Kevin Kelly, the founder of Wired Magazine, refers to as “The Technium.” The Technium is the convergence of technology, culture and economics. At the center of every significant change in our lives now is some kind of new technology. As the accelerant of humanity, technology dictates that we all will live in a permanent state of beta testing from here on out. On the other hand, looking back at history we see that every idea and every ideology put into action is one grand social experiment in which we don’t really know the outcome. “Think about that as you listen to the dialogue of this year’s event. The future is never pre-determined unless apathy triumphs action. There is no algorithm for the future,” Toni said.