It was a year of increased stability in terms of credit ratings for CDO market and subsequently, investors that previously exited the product returned in strong numbers in 2004. Thanks to the asset class' yieldlier environment - compared to comparable fixed-income products - hedge funds set up shop in the CDO market in noticeable numbers.

Thus, increased competition among buysiders took the chase for collateral to the secondary market, which enjoyed a banner year by all accounts. Yet the primary topics of conversation by market participants was the overall tight spread environment and the seeming lack of new collateral in the new-issue CDO market, areas ASR's award-winning deals of the year addressed, thereby solidifying their names in the 2004 record book.

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