Former commercial mortgage-backed securities pioneer Ethan Penner is returning to his real estate finance roots. Penner has been named president of Kennedy-Wilson, the Los Angeles-based real estate services and fund-management firm.

Kennedy-Wilson chairman and CEO Bill McMorrow says that Penner’s responsibilities will include directing and developing the real estate firm’s business. "His responsibilities will include strategic ventures aimed at investing in both real estate and debt that is secured by real estate as well as expanding our real estate services platform," McMorrow said in a statement.

Penner is credited with redefining the business of real estate finance by developing new sources of liquidity and revitalizing commercial mortgage-backed securities. At the helm of the Capital Company of America, formerly known as Nomura Asset Capital Corp., Penner helped the firm become one of the largest lenders in the United States real estate market. The company later sustained huge financial losses in 1998 when the "Asian Flu" spread to international markets.