For many market participants at the recent IMN/Fabozzi ABS West conference - especially investors - the issue of avoiding more blowups and finding relative value in a continually tightening ABS market took primacy over other topics.

Several sessions were dedicated to the search for relative value: In a panel discussion entitled "Uncovering Relative Value Within the Public Market," facilitated by Merrill Lynch's Dan Castro, buysiders spoke about where they are putting their money; at the Research Analyst Roundtable, headed by Anatoly Burman of SunAmerica Investments, strategists gave their thoughts on similar topics.

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