In addition to the good weather, the golf and the deluge of investors who attended the Whistler conference - there were fifty free seats alloted for investors and they were oversubscribed - the news looks good for Canadian ABS. For one, certain types of liquidity lines for Canadian conduits may continue to attract zero percent risk weighting even when the new Basle rules come in, according to a presentation by Tom Boemio of the Federal Reserve Board and Brad Shinn of the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions.

The mood for the public market was pretty "upbeat." Some participants pointed to the growth in ABCP issuance that may eventually reach a saturation point, a factor that would cause the movement towards the public arena.

There was also a call made to non-bank issuers to come to the public market. The call was made specifically to some of the U.S. car finance companies like Associates First Capital, Ford Motor Corp., DaimlerChrysler AG and GMAC.

The surprise appearance of Ian Bandeen, former head of securitization at BMO Nesbitt Burns, was a highlight which was dimmed by David Pullman's luncheon speech. "He was still talking about David Bowie; how long can you keep that going?" a source asked.

Two deals were being talked about in the conference. The Caisse de depot CMBS deal, which is currently on road show, and the MBNA Canada credit card offering "is the big name out there now," said a source.

The MBNA offering is being done through the company's Gloucester Credit Card Trust. MBNA has previously issued three privately placed deals worth $250 million each from the same trust.

This initial public offering will consist of two tranches. The first is an A tranche which will be rated by Moody's Investors Service, Standard and Poors Ratings Services and Dominion Bond Rating Service (DBRS). The second is the collateral tranche which will be privately-placed and will only be rated by DBRS and S&P.

Though officials from the company declined to divulge a specific amount, the deal is said to be close to $400 million. MBNA Canada will likely issue twice a year going forward.

Back from the conference market players were greeted by big news: Citibank Canada has acquired the Canada Trust MasterCard consumer portfolio.

According to published reports, the transaction is expected to be completed by mid-July and will involve the transfer to Citibank Canada of Canada Trust MasterCard facilities and operations in London, Ontario. Citibank Canada has also extended offers of employment to all active Canada Trust MasterCard consumer credit-card employees.

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