It was a generally quiet week for the Canadian asset-backed securities sector as the market seemed to take a break to bask in the success of last week's inaugural $1.1 billion Golden Credit Card Trust public offering by The Royal Bank of Canada.

A number of market sources said they were awaiting the week's end settlement of the transaction and the deal being freed from syndicate to determine how spreads hold up in initial public trading.

Despite widespread predictions in the immediate aftermath of the successful offering last week that all such future issues would be public, the sources said that there is still a need to confirm that there is indeed a viable public market that will warrant the extra expense and time inherent in public offerings.

Dealers said that although they were not aware of any specific new issues in the pipeline, they were not expecting the customary summer doldrums this year.

Rather, they are looking for issuers to bring forward their business into the current quarter. They said there is considerable reluctance to bring deals in the fourth quarter because of Y2K concerns.

The one firm that gave indication of some activity upcoming was CIBC, which reported having a public deal "of considerable size" upcoming. Sources at the firm said they had a number of possible issues on tap, but were reluctant to disclose specifics, other than to eliminate a credit card deal.

The bank has availability in a number of asset classes for which it could provide liquidity, the sources noted.

Shots At Case Deal Called Low Blow

Though a senior official at Bank of Montreal's Nesbitt Burns unit agreed pass-throughs are not the easiest to sell in Canada, he said charges leveled at the bank by whispering competitors with respect to a recent Nesbitt-led Case Credit equipment lease deal should be chalked up to untruths.

The deal was said to have been slowed because of unrealistic spread promises and a lack of investor education on the part of Nesbitt, when actually the transaction cleared the market near the 50 basis points over Canadian Treasurys at which the bank had marketed the bonds. Market sources had the bonds being talked as low as 45 over Government of Canada bonds.

"We did not sell it to Case purely on the basis of spread at any rate," said the source, who added Case had been a longtime satisfied client of Nesbitt.

- Dave Feldheim

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