For the past two years Citigroup Global Markets has occupied the top slot in the lead manager league tables, according to data maintained by Thomson Financial. However, this could be the year that a new champion emerges as Lehman Brothers is making a serious challenge to Citigroup's lead, trailing the perennial top dog by just over $1 billion. Not only has Lehman bulked up its bookrunning, but the field has grown more competitive, as only $10 billion separates top-ranked Citigroup from the fifth ranked bookrunner through the first nine months of the year, versus over $20 billion at this time last year.

Citigroup has been lead manager on $71.8 billion worth of ABS this year, good for an 8.7% market share, while Lehman is at $70.6 billion, up $13 billion from year-to-date 2004, with a market share of 8.5%.

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