Not surprisingly, ABS researchers expressed frustration over the restrictive compliance environment, while speaking at last week's ASF-hosted conference. Unsure of what may be flagged as front running under attorney general scrutiny, all three panelists described the importance of working closely with both the banking and the trading operations to efficiently provide their services.

ABS researchers are viewed by many as a core component of the structuring, internal education and banking functions, as opposed to merely being "perks" for clients.

"The ability of researchers to find information from issuers has become severely constrained," said JPMorgan Securities global ABS research head Chris Flanagan. "[To properly do their jobs] we will have to be able to find enough information."

Lehman Brothers research head Davis Heike added, "isolation from structurers and traders limits our ability to be useful to our clients."

And Credit Suisse First Boston ABS and CDO research head Neil McPherson observed, "Research has to be able to communicate with bankers. Creating a schism prevents us from doing our jobs."

Copyright 2004 Thomson Media Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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