The Commercial Mortgage Securities Association (CMSA) held its 13th annual convention in New York last week. Outgoing CMSA President Kent Born opened the meeting by recalling a comment he made at CMSA's January meeting in Florida. At that time, Born anticipated that, at some point, the CMBS market would likely experience some dislocation, but he didn't see it happening over the next year. He had a view of healthy issuance and stable spreads. This outlook lasted for all of about seven weeks, he quipped, given the dislocation that has occurred in the CMBS market brought on by the subprime meltdown. However, he said that he was still hopeful that the end result would be a stronger and more sustainable market going forward.

With this opening, the conference kicked off with a panel discussion on whether there is a "gatekeeper" for the CMBS market, who it is, and how effective it has been. The discussion included audience "participation" through handheld PDAs that recorded results to prepared questions, which helped direct the discussion. Based on the first survey question, 10% of the audience were triple-A investors, 12% were investment-grade investors, 21% were high-yield investors, and 57% were originators/dealers.

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