Despite the fact that Franchise Mortgage Acceptance Corp., one of the sector's largest issuers, kept to the sidelines this year (see Whispers p.14), the franchise loan sector showed significant development, as tiering - or brand name-style pricing - entered the mix, indicative of a maturing asset class, said industry players.

"This is the first year we have seen a noticeable tiering of issuers and transactions by investors when considering investment alternatives," said Russ Burns, a director at Prudential Securities. "This differentiation occurs as markets mature and is not unique to the franchise sector."

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