After several investment banks, sponsors, panelists and market participants decided to pull out of Information Management Network's ABS East conference due to the recent tragic events, the company officially canceled the conference late last Thursday afternoon, posting only a brief note on its Web site saying that "we will provide full details on this website shortly."

Despite repeated attempts, ABS East's coordinator, Scott Brody, would not return phone calls to ASR.

According to ABS market participants, several firms such as Salomon Smith Barney reportedly pulled out of the event completely after the World Trade Center attack. Furthermore, several companies have put a freeze on all non-essential business travel. One investor who was scheduled to be a panelist told ASR that he decided not to go and that the hotel, the Atlantis, on Paradise Island, Bahamas, would not refund his deposit.

Neither IMN nor the Atlantis resort would return phone calls regarding the refund policy for the conference, which was scheduled for Oct. 2 through 5.

Separately, Strategic Research Institute also decided to cancel its 2001 ABS Symposium, which was slated for September 30 to Oct. 3 in Bermuda. "Having polled the results, (receiving over 400 replies in one business day), we are not surprised to find the reaction almost equally split, ranging from we must not let these people win by allowing them to affect our lives' (the show must go on), to "we have the blessings of tomorrow, there can be another time and place" (there are things of far more importance)," said SRI's Web site. "However, what the poll does not reflect is that some of our friends and colleagues have been affected far more than others and are not in a position to participate even if they wanted to. Accordingly, and in deference to those who cannot be with us, we have decided to cancel the event."

With both of the autumn ABS conferences now cancelled, market players are expecting February's ABS West events in Arizona to be the largest domestic ABS conferences ever produced.

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