CMSA-Europe kicked off its second annual European conference in Rome last week to a growing audience that has expanded to include more U.S. participants. Despite conflicting with Information Management Network's ABS East show, organizers at the Rome event said there is an ever-increasing interest and participation by U.S. players and total attendance was up by 25%, with 450 people that were scheduled to participate in this year's event.

Ronan Fox, managing director at Standard & Poor's and chairman of CMSA-Europe, said that the first day of conferencing was dedicated to educational issues, with a greater emphasis this year on U.S. and European comparisons. He estimated that around a third of this year's delegates would be coming from the U.S. "Europe has become a more significant market and for U.S. players, Europe is increasingly seen as a major driver of their portfolios," Fox said. According to the CMSA, new CMBS issuance in Europe, year-to-date, has reached 45.3 billion ($57.5 billion) compared to 40.7 billion for all of 2005.

The second day of the conference was dedicated to the more novel happenings in the European CMBS market. Among the topics generating the most interest, Fox said, are developments in commercial real estate CDOs. "It's a niche market that has generated a lot of discussion," he said.

A presentation highlighting the benefits of the CMSA's European Investor Reporting Package (E-IRP) was part of the agenda at the Rome event. The investors' forum slated for last Friday was expected to provide an opportunity for the CMSA-IRP committee to have a dialogue with investors on the reporting guidelines and help determine where there is an opportunity to develop similar guidelines in other European jurisdictions.

The CMSA E-IRP, introduced last October, provides relevant data that investors can use to compare CMBS bonds across multiple transactions. These standard reporting formats are essential to supporting the continued growth and liquidity of the commercial real estate debt securities market in the U.K.

"As the commercial mortgage backed securities market has grown to more than US$50 billion in issuance in Europe this year, companies have found it increasingly important to implement the reporting standards outlined in the CMSA E-IRP," Fox said.

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

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