Close to three thousand ABS participants, mostly tender-foots looking forward to a reprieve from the deep freeze along the eastern seaboard, are expected to attend Information Management Network's tenth annual ABS West conference at the J.W. Marriot Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix. As of last week 2,759 participants had been registered.

Following a half day of workshops, IMN will kick off the unrelenting round of panel discussions and cocktail receptions with its welcoming event on Monday evening.

The opening session on Tuesday morning will once again be led by Moody's Investors Service Managing Director Michael Kanef. Among those joining him on stage will be Robert Malin, managing director at Citigroup Global Markets, Mark Hartzell, senior vice president at JPMorgan Securities, and Ronald Mass, a portfolio manager at Western Asset Management Company. The conversation will range from new assets and deal transparency, to the international scene and the perils of fraud.

The golf and tennis tournaments will commence at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday. The onsite Wildfire Golf Club features two courses, a fully equipped golf shop and the Meritage Steakhouse for course-side dining.

And of course, the banks and other market players will be hosting a series of dinners and parties, some of them taking advantage of the rugged desert terrain to court potential clients. The following is a sampling of the entertainment at ABS West.

Monday

Ambac is hosting a "western evening in the desert," and has urged guests to don western attire. Buses will depart from the J.W. Marriot at 6:30 p.m.

Barclays Capital will be holding its open bar at the Wildflower Ballroom from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.

Bear Stearns will be holding a dinner and wine tasting offsite at Cowboy Ciao. Cocktails will be served at 6:30 p.m., and transportation will be provided from the J.W. Marriot. The bus leaves at 6:00 p.m. Later in the evening, Bear will play host to new age country performers the Lost Trailers for their set back at the conference hotel, which is slated for a 10:30 p.m. curtain call.

Goldman Sachs is throwing a welcoming reception at the main pool area of the J.W. Marriot from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

MBIA is leading a Hummer Caravan into the Sonoran Desert for a night of stargazing and a cookout. The caravan departs from outside the ballroom circle at 4:00 p.m.

Merrill Lynch is offering cocktails and a buffet dinner at the Rawhide Western Town & Steakhouse from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Tuesday

Lehman Brothers is hosting cocktails and dinner at La Hacienda, located at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. Buses will depart from the Grand Canyon Ballroom entrance at the J.W. Marriot at 6:45 p.m.

RBS Greenwich Capital will take over the Wildflower Ballroom from 7:30 p.m. until midnight.

UBS is leading an expedition to the ghost town of Gillette to include pistol and skeet shooting, as well as a BBQ lunch. The tour departs from the main lobby of the J.W. Marriot at 1:00 p.m. Later in the evening, the bank will be holding an Alt-A dinner at Drinkwater's City Hall Restaurant. Transportation will be provided from the J.W. Marriot at 6:30 p.m.

United Capital Markets has secured the funk stylings of Earth, Wind & Fire. The cocktail reception starts at 6:15 p.m.

Wednesday

UBS is hosting a Robert Mondavi Opus One Wine Tasting on-site at the Meritage Steakhouse from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Copyright 2005 Thomson Media Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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