From the early morning sessions to the wee morning hours, conversations at last week's ASF 2007 conference held in Las Vegas seemed to inevitably turn to subprime mortgages and the fate of ABS CDOs, among other things - such as the Miss America Pageant taking place down the strip.

Some people were adamant that CDOs backed by subprime collateral would implode, in the style of multisector CDOs, carrying manufactured housing loans and aircraft leases. In fact, one conference speaker went as far as to compare HEL securitization to Enron accounting. Others, however - mainly managers and underwriters - exuded nothing but confidence. The fact that Trust Company of the West's credit mortgage group had some 130 meetings set up in the span of a couple days supports the notion that even though investors may be requiring more yield, as one manager noted, they're not going away.

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