Citigroup Global Markets grabbed the largest market share among U.S. ABS CDO underwriters in the first quarter of this year, according to data maintained by Thomson Financial. Citigroup rose up from third place at yearend 2005 and barely squeaked past Merrill Lynch, which some say has suffered from the loss of several key staff members earlier this year. Citigroup brought 14 deals to market totaling $6.8 billion, earning it the leading 15.2% market share. Citigroup had ranked third in the fourth quarter of last year with an 11.2% market share and 8 deals totaling $3.5 billion.

Overall, U.S. ABS CDO issuance in the first quarter totaled $44.8 billion and 102 deals - a 42% rise in dollar volume over the previous quarter's 81 deals totaling $31.5 billion.

Merrill Lynch had enjoyed dominating its competitors for the overall highest percent of U.S. market share in both 2004 and 2005. In fact, Merrill in 2005 increased the overall dollar volume of deals it underwrote by some 66% - a move that bought it more than a $6 billion cushion between itself and its nearest competitor at the time by yearend. In the final quarter of 2005 alone, Merrill achieved its number one rank through an 18.6% market share amassed through 10 deals totaling roughly $5.9 billion. But in the three months that ended March 31, Merrill had underwritten nine deals totaling $6.7 billion - only 14% below Citigroup but enough to drop it to second place and a 14.9% market share.

Meanwhile, UBS rose to the number three spot from fifth place in the fourth quarter with 11 deals totaling $4.8 billion and a 10.6% market share. The investment bank had earned its number five rank in the fourth quarter by bringing only six deals totaling $2.6 billion and an 8.4% market share.

Rounding out the top five were Banc of America Securities and Deutsche Bank, which each posted substantial gains from the final quarter of last year and nearly tied in fourth place in the first quarter - with roughly $11,000 separating the two. BofA posted an impressive gain in the first quarter - to fourth place from fifteenth place in the last quarter of 2005. The investment bank brought 12 deals to the market totaling $3.8 billion and a 8.5% market share. That's up from only four deals in the final quarter of last year that added up to $564 million and a 1.8% market share. Also rising through the ranks, Deutsche Bank rounded out the top five in the first quarter after ranking eleventh in the last quarter of 2005. Deutsche brought 6 deals to the market totaling $3.8 billion and a 8.5% market share, up from four deals in the final quarter of last year that totaled $935 million and a 3% market share.

In perhaps one of the most dramatic losses in market share, Morgan Stanley fell seven spots - from second place finish in the final quarter of last year to only ninth place in the first quarter of 2006. Morgan Stanley brought 11 deals to the market, but they only totaled $2.1 billion, earning it a 4.7% market share compared with a 13.6% market share in the fourth quarter from 17 deals totaling $4.3 billion.

Among other notable shifts, Credit Suisse rose to sixth place from a twelfth place finish in the final quarter of last year. Credit Suisse brought five deals to the market totaling $3.6 billion and an 8.1% market share, up from three deals totaling $889 million and a 2.8% market share the previous quarter. Also, Goldman Sachs rose to eighth place in the first quarter from a nineteenth place finish in the final quarter of last year. Goldman brought four deals to market totaling $2.3 billion and a 5.1% market share, compared with only one, $100 million deal in the previous quarter that earned it a 0.3% market share.

(c) 2006 Asset Securitization Report and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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