The asset securitization market has seen several key changes since the beginning of the year, but that is not at all reflected in the lineup of lead manager rankings. Citigroup Global Markets tightened its iron grip on the title as top lead manager of ABS deals by claiming first place in the ranking for the year to date, according to data from Thomson Financial.

The investment bank, which placed first in the lead manager rankings for the two previous quarters, completed $87.4 billion in deals. The bank improved on its standing compared to the same period a year ago, when it came in second place. A quick glance at the numbers suggests that the share of deals was distributed more evenly than in previous quarters. None of the lead managers achieved double-digit market share for the third quarter, although Citigroup came the closest, with a 9.9% portion of the overall market.

Although there was noticeable shuffling among the top five names between this year and 2005, the lineup looked exactly as it did at the end of the first half of 2006, with Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse coming in second through fifth place, respectively. Merrill, which completed $70 billion in deals, snagged an 8% share of the market. The investment bank turned around from a fifth-place finish in the same period a year ago, when it did $65.1 billion in deals. After underwriting $75.6 billion in deals, Lehman Brothers actually slid down in the rankings by two slots to third place, compared to its top-place finish at the end of third quarter 2005. Deutsche Bank followed, with $66.7 billion in issuance and a 7.6% market share, and Credit Suisse's $57.8 billion in underwriting mandates was enough to garner a fifth place finish for the bank.

More interesting movements in the rankings occurred below the number five mark. JPMorgan, for one, had finished in 11th place at the end of the third quarter last year, but hoisted itself up to sixth place, with $57.5 billion in securitization business this year.

Issuer rankings

The numbers are also beginning to bear out increasing talk of a year of flat primary ABS issuance for 2006. The market cranked out $880 billion in ABS primary issuance, but it was only a 3.5% increase from the $848.5 billion in issuance that the market did in the first three quarters of 2005.

Among ABS issuers, mortgage lending giant Countrywide Financial Corp. easily walked away with the number one slot, after dropping $44.8 billion onto the securitization market. That amount of deal issuance accounted for 5.1% of total issuance, and gave it a comfortable lead over Citigroup, which placed second after issuing $34 billion in paper during the third quarter. With $32.9 billion in issuance, auto loan issuer General Motors Corp. came in third place among issuers, duplicating its standing from the third quarter of 2005. Lehman Brothers Holdings came in fourth place, with $31.6 billion in issuance, after losing its grip on its second-place ranking from the same period a year ago. Although $31.5 billion in new business was enough to secure a fifth-place finish for Morgan Stanley in terms of year-to-date issuance, it churned out a mere $4.5 billion in issuance just for the third quarter, which put the bank in 15th place for the quarter.

Student loan issuer Sallie Mae Corp. did not crack into the top five this time around, with its $25.3 billion in issuance and sixth place finish, but the student loan provider and financer continued to increase its issuance and move up in the rankings. During the same period a year ago, Sallie Mae floated $19.1 billion in ABS debt.

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

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