PHOENIX, Ariz. - Arizona proved much less a panacea for industry pundits at ABS West than in years past. Golf rounds were held amid flags flying at half-staff - portions of the Columbia space shuttle were located in nearby Flagstaff. And much like NASA officials, the focus of this year's conference appeared to be detailed damage assessment.

While on the surface that may be an all too familiar mantra, the role of the ABS investor, the need for bondholders to become proactive, and what, exactly, are trustees compensated fairly to do, proved to be the conference's hot topics. Of course nothing could quite drown out the concerns associated with new accounting guidelines from the Financial Accounting Standards Board.

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