Rarely do the domestic and global ABS markets leave participants with little to discuss or remember from the previous year. Who would have imagined, still, that the student loan sector would produce one of the U.S. ABS market's most anticipated and talked-about structures for 2006? That is what happened with Nelnet SAFE extendible-note ABCP program. Elsewhere in the U.S., the CDO market, not resting from its vehement drive to greater profits and diversification, generated too many structures to chose just one, so ASR selected three: SURF, Everest I, and a nifty hybrid CDO from Merrill Lynch that required no triggers.

If a sporting event is an unscripted drama, then the Arsenal Soccer Club's GBP260 million ($340 million) financing of its new Emirates Stadium in the U.K. should give the market plenty to talk about. The CMBS transaction incorporates the sometimes-fickle dynamics of player costs, team performance and fan loyalty. Further east, in Russia, the private mortgage market behaved like a teenager on a growth spurt, with an MBS transaction from state-owned JSC Vneshtorgank. More significant than the fact that the deal is denominated in dollars is that private housing - and the subsequent private mortgage and MBS markets - has only existed for about 16 years in that country.

In Asia, South Korea's Standard Chartered First Bank shook off geopolitical tensions, stemming from North Korea increasing its nuclear testing program, to successfully place a $1.3 billion RMBS transaction. Defying market expectations, it did so without a monoline wrap.

So, before delving into the hottest, newest structures that beckon in 2007, read on to find out which deals made the cut as 2006's most notable.

(c) 2007 Asset Securitization Report and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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