The European Securitization Forum (ESF) and Information Management Network (IMN) - which, for the first time, will join forces to co-host the Global ABS conference this year -are already looking for a new venue to host this yearly gathering. And the votes of market players will be used to make the choice between two French locales as alternatives to Barcelona, Spain, the traditional location for this major securitization event.

ESF and IMN have narrowed the choices down to either Paris or Cannes and opened the final decision up to delegate voting last week. For those still longing for some respite from dreary city landscapes, the Cannes venue will likely come in as the first choice. The venue is remote yet accessible enough to make getting there easy while preserving the party atmosphere that Barcelona's seaside location offers. But if its ease of travel that ends up being the biggest motivator, then holding the conference in Paris will likely be more appealing. In any case, Jade Friedensohn, senior vice president at IMN, said that Barcelona isn't being completely written off the list. "I think that for anyone who has been to our last few conferences, they can see the difficulty of squeezing the industry into a boutique hotel that more appropriately caters to 1000 delegates."

Friedensohn added that the conference this year, still hosted at the usual Hotel Arts, will see an estimated 5,000 delegates pass through its corridors. Barcelona, with its appealing architecture and laid back pace, just doesn't have the facilities that live up to the convenience that conference delegates have come to expect. Those who attended the conference three years ago might remember that IMN changed venues in favor of the more spacious but more remote Congressional Palace, which landed thousands of ABS players smack in the middle of nowhere, Friedensohn said. "Now that we teamed up with the ESF and have this one industry event it's inevitable that we will continue to grow."

The hosts are expecting an increase in attendance from Central and Eastern European and Australian delegates, which should push attendance over 5,000 for future gatherings.

The final two choices for the conference location are The Palais des Festival in Cannes, from June 1 to 4, and The Carrousel du Louvre in Paris, from June 18 to 20. Participants were given until last Friday to cast their votes, and the results were expected for the beginning of this week.

(c) 2007 Asset Securitization Report and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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