In the specialized business of ABS, Citigroup Global Markets attained its top ranking as lead manager of all public and 144a transactions in 2006 by being well rounded. The investment bank arranged about $120.7 billion in ABS deals, giving it a 9.9% share of the term ABS market and putting it well ahead of second-place finisher Merrill Lynch, which cleared $98.7 billion in deals. Overall U.S. ABS issuance totaled $1.2 trillion in 2006, up slightly from $1.1 trillion in 2005, according to Thomson Financial figures.

Citigroup took a balanced approach to its ABS underwriting business in 2006, endeavoring to be among the top two best underwriters in several asset classes, market sources said. The investment bank ranked number two among lead CDO managers, right behind Merrill, according to Thomson data, while market observers estimate that the bank is number one or two among lead manager for credit card, student loan and auto ABS deals. That strategy helped Citi put together a good underwriting business overall, those familiar with the company said.

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