Although American Securitization Forum (ASF) conferences are usually more U.S.-centric, this year's ASF 2012 had more of a global focus.

There were a number of European ABS experts who spoke at the event.

Some of the high-profile sessions also focused on global issues, but more specifically on the impact of the European sovereign debt crisis on domestic transactions.

In an earlier interview with ASR, Tom Deutsch, the executive director of the trade group, said this format gives a more holistic picture of what's happening in the worldwide securitization markets.

"This year we have an integrated global format instead of regional formats to make it easier to identify trends and promote discussion on the global coordination of regulation," Deutsch said.

Eurozone Blues

Comparisons between what is happening in the eurozone and the U.S. markets were inevitable.

Ganesh Rajendra, head of international asset and mortgage-backed strategy at RBS Securities, said that "the recovery path in the U.S. is more solid than it is in Europe."

Rajendra's remarks were made at the panel on 2012 securitization market outlook.

Rajendra cited the fiscal austerity measures and moderation in growth that countries in the region are experiencing, specifically the peripherals where the outlook is weak.

He added that there is an unprecedented probability of default for these countries with their banking systems substantially insolvent.

A key issue is Greece and how to firewall the contagion from the troubled country, he said.

Speakers at the panel on the impact of the European sovereign crisis said that Europe's securitization market is fragmented.

There are also marked distinctions between core and peripheral countries and assets.

Rajendra explained that in Europe there is a two-tiered economy where there are countries like Germany on the one end and Portugal, Italy, Ireland and Spain with weak outlooks on the other.

Panelists also discussed how investors have reacted to the eurozone crisis in terms of asset selection.

Buyers have been keener on secured and securitized funding, with the relative demand for the RMBS product already reaching its peak.

Rajendra said these forms of financing can act as complements to one another.

"A bank that is already funding via covered bonds may look to securitization as a complementary secured funding tool," he said.





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