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%.

Making an astounding leap in the tables this year is Merrill Lynch, having led $63 billion so far this year, a $23 billion increase over year-to-date 2004. The 57.5% increase is enough to land Merrill in the number three slot thus far, up from tenth last year at this time, and virtually ensures the bank will have a seat in the top-five before the year is out.

Deutsche Bank Securities is close behind Merrill with $62.8 billion managed so far, representing a $15 billion increase from 3Q05, good for a jump to fourth from the seven slot last year at this time. Rounding out the top five is Credit Suisse First Boston with $61.5 billion managed, up nearly $13 billion from last year at this time, but CSFB has dropped one slot in the rankings since last year, displaced by Deutsche Bank and Merrill.

Noticeably absent from the top five so far this year is Countrywide Securities, which is $6 billion off last year's pace, but in the highly competitive year that is 2005, the seemingly slight drop off has caused Countrywide to slip from third to eighth.

(c) 2005 Asset Securitization Report and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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