* Drum roll please! The fickle CDO market has crowned this year's hot topic, collateral managers, and just in time for the ABS conferences in Arizona. Expect to hear mucho discussion about who's hot and who's not - backed up by factual evidence, of course. We hear a certain rating service is pushing out a "Deal Score Report" this week, dedicated to the performance of CDO collateral managers. Expect to see that picked over at the 19th hole much more than those flimsy scorecards...

* Ahoy mates! Word from abroad is that Harbourmaster Capital Management Ltd. is readying to ship out a E$1 billion synthetic ABS CDO backed by two tranches of triple-A's. Investors report Banc of America Securities is marketing the E$100 million senior triple-A tranche at 55 basis points over LIBOR. What are the strong selling points? According to our sources, with a WAL of approximately six years, all management fees are deferred until year five and serve as additional subordination and the junior super senior tranche has roughly three times the level of subordination normally required to achieve a triple-A rating -IFR Markets.

* Someone else is hot for European CDOs - Stephen Roughton-Smith, the bigwig at Moody's SF Group, rubbed out a prediction from the crystal ball during a presentation at London's Dorchester Hotel...that European structured finance transactions will rise by much as 15%, with the bulk of credit risk transfer coming from CDOs.

* CREST - the CDO, not the toothpaste - is swishing around the market via Wachovia Securities. The $600 million CDO is a static pool cash flow backed by CMBS. The breakdown, according to sources, is 71% non-IG CMBS and roughly 29% IG senior secured debt issued by real estate trusts. The collateral manager is - surprise - Structured Credit Partners, a wholly owned subsidiary of Wachovia Corp., which has already issued five previous CREST vehicles. Noteworthy elements in this sixth incantation is word that Allied Capital is acting as disposition consultant and an affiliate of Allied plans to purchase 90% of the CDO's equity tranche.

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