With the year rapidly coming to a close, the league-table race has become too close to call, as Salomon Smith Barney and Credit Suisse First Boston grapple for supremacy. While CSFB has hardly slacked, Salomon has been on a tear in recent weeks and it currently looks as though Salomon will edge out its rival when the dust settles and reclaim what it had owned for the past two years.
After claiming the top spot following the third quarter CSFB held a slight edge through the first two months of the quarter. Salomon, in turn, had pulled to a tie by early December. From there, Salomon unleashed its big guns, pricing $2.85 billion of Citibank credit card paper as well as large deals from CNH Equipment and DaimlerChrysler's Carco since the start of the month.
But CSFB has led fairly large deals as well; last week the bank priced a $1.2 billion auto loan, however, Salomon seems to have too much firepower to beat in a sprint.
Additionally, there is currently debate over the status of three senior secured debt offerings, collateralized by contracted future flows. California Private Transportation, N.E. Generation and Chilquinta Energia Finance Co. each sold deals via Salomon this year described as contract monetizations, and therefore count as ABS.
Even third-place JPMorgan made a late push, pricing two self-led deals last week alone for a total of $1.86 billion, although the leading issuer of public ABS is on the outside looking in.
This was hardly a disappointing year for the bank, as it moved to the upper echelon of the league tables following the closing of Chase's acquisition of JPMorgan in January. Sources within the bank promise big things in the coming year, particularly in the auto sector, where JPMorgan has a healthy lead of more than $5 billion on its closest competitor.