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.

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