For the second year running, the ABS hordes will descend upon Boca Raton, Fla., for four days of networking, panel discussions - and golf. Upwards of 2,500 delegates are expected to show up at the Boca Raton Resort & Club this week for Information Management Network's 10th annual ABS East Conference, according to an IMN spokesperson.

In a nod to the political season, the opening general panel will have an election theme, paying homage to butterfly ballots and hanging chads. Moody's Investors Service Managing Director Michael Kanef will be presiding. Ron Mass, a portfolio manager at Western Asset Management Company, will be making his debut on the opening panel. Greg Medcraft, global head of securitization at SG Corporate & Investment Banking, will also be making his first appearance at the opening ceremonies at ABS East.

As testament to the market's increased focus on regulatory and compliance issues, the pre-conference workshops for issuers will include a new addition dubbed New SEC Rules for ABS: Impact on the ABS Market. Furthermore, IMN has added two new workshops to the tax, accounting and regulatory track; A Fundamental GAAP/Tax Comparison of Mortgage Banking Issues and Application of Accounting Standards to Credit Derivatives: IAS/ GAAP Discrepancies.

On the last day of the conference, a new panel - the use of REITs in Securitization and the implications of mortgage converting to REITs - highlights the growing role that mortgage REITs are playing in the securitization arena.

Due to the advent of FIN 46, sources expect to see more emphasis on off-balance sheet accounting this time around, as well as discussion of whether or not the optimal conditions currently in play for home equity issuance will remain.

R & R

Thursday's sessions will finish up early to make way for the golf and tennis tournaments. The par 71 golf course plays a total of 6,253 yards from the back tees. The green is highlighted with a variety of elevation changes and 12 surface acres of water including a signature water feature designed by Hugh Hughes. There are 30 tennis courts to accommodate the tennis players, and the resort was ranked on of the top 10 tennis resorts by Tennis Magazine.

The resort marina offers a host of activities for the seafaring attendees, from fishing and sailing charters to cigarette boat rides and yacht rentals. Landlubbers can pamper themselves at the full service Spa Palazzo, named one of the best American spas by Departures magazine.

The nightlife

In the usual style, firms will be hosting a series of evening events for clients who want to clink glasses while talking shop. On Tuesday night, MBIA will be throwing a beach party at Cappy's. Ambac, Barclays Capital, and Merrill Lynch will also be playing hosts on Tuesday. The following night, Bear Stearns will be holding a disco-themed Blast from the Past' party at Camino Hall with special musical guest Super Diamond. RBS Greenwich Capital, Citigroup Global Markets, Deutsche Bank Securities, Bank of America Securities and Credit Suisse First Boston are slated for Wednesday night as well.

For those in need of refreshment before the commencement of nighttime revelries, law firm McKee Nelson will have a poolside cabana set up from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday. United Capital Markets once again stepped up to the plate and has bankrolled classic rockers The Doobie Brothers' performance on Wednesday night.

The resort offers plenty of alternatives for groups looking for something different. Malone's Magic Bar, operated by magician Bill Malone, conjures up tableside sleight-of hand. Bar Luna, featuring floor-to-ceiling wine storage racks, boasts over 3,400 bottles of wine and champagne, alongside an assortment of liquors and grappas. Cigar aficionados can head to Mizner's Monkey Bar at the west end of the lobby in the Cloister building. In addition to a wide selection of premium cigars, the Monkey Bar offers live piano nightly between 9:00 p.m. and midnight.

After hours begins at 2:00 a.m., last call in Boca.

Copyright 2004 Thomson Media Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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