In 2004 the asset-backed securities market swelled to $858 billion, and while 2005 is expected to be another solid year, analysts are already predicting a drop-off from that record shattering number. But even if the market soars to new heights again next year, 2004 will likely be billed as a breakout year for ABS that saw some old standards maintain their share of the market as underwriters, and saw some new faces stepped into the lead as well.

Citigroup Global Markets remained at the top of the league tables this year, underwriting almost $83 billion worth of securities, and growing its ABS underwriting business by 22%, versus 2003, while Countrywide Securities took the industry by surprise, tripling its volume under to finish second with $74 billion. Just like in the issuance category (see story p. 5), Countrywide made tremendous progress as an underwriter in 2004, upping its market share over 200% from $24 billion and improving it from eleventh place in the 2003 rankings.

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