Preliminary underwriter ranking numbers show that Credit Suisse First Boston will take over the top spot in the ABS league tables in the third quarter, which makes this the first time in two years that Salomon Smith Barney is not been atop at quarter-end. Widening a slim gap from one month ago, CSFB now leads Salomon by approximately $3.9 billion, according to Thomson Financial.

Close behind, even as Salomon was out to an early lead during the first half of the year, CSFB recently surpasses the Citigroup subsidiary, placing approximately $38.3 billion of ABS supply into the public and 144A term markets through last Thursday. Salomon by contrast has led the books on just over $34.4 billion of ABS product.

The last time Salomon was not the leading ABS underwriter at quarter-end was after the third quarter of 1999, when CSFB, under the Jorge Calderon/Phil Weingord regime, led. Salomon was on top of the league tables for the next seven quarters.

JPMorgan Securities is a viable threat for the top spot, as most expected after the combination of operations with Chase Manhattan at the start of the year, currently sitting at third with $31.1 billion of supply sold. Lehman Brothers, the only top player without the commercial lending capabilities of its competitors, is in fourth with roughly $27.7 billion sold.

Rounding out the top five is Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown with $26.6 billion of ABS placed in the hands of investors. This is somewhat ironic considering that just over one year ago, DBAB scooped Calderon and Weingord away from then-second place CSFB, who took with them numerous CSFB ABS pros. The move did though make DBAB an immediate player in the underwriter market.

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