While a large component of the securitization community spent the last two weeks in tumble-weed country, attending either of the two annual Arizona-based conferences, the whole world has gone to hell, so to speak. By that, we are referring to the exponentially mounting regulatory and accounting scrutiny over the treatment of special purpose entities (or companies, or vehicles), and the trickle-down effect that has brought securitization into mainstream headlines.

Why shouldn't it? As noted during a general opening panel at Strategic Research Institutes' Asset Securitization 2002 Symposium, all true securitizations are structured through SPVs (that's thousands and thousands of SPVs), commonly in offshore arrangements. Most of these are structured so as to remove assets from a balance sheet, which, on a surface level, eerily aligns the ever-maturing ABS market with the slimy arrangements under scrutiny associated with Enron Corp.

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