The FDIC held a meeting March 29 to discuss its risk retention rules and the much debated QRM qualification.

By shedding light on its view of "skin in the game," the FDIC, along with its fellow regulators, is slowly but surely helping ABS players understand how to carry out Dodd Frank.

Finding securitization devotees willing to do deals isn't the problem, as Nora Colomer explains in this month's cover story on the intricacies of Dodd-Frank. They just can't execute transactions without knowing their parameters.

Take the biggest elephant in the room: risk retention. Nora reports that, depending on the asset class, it's not as unwieldy as it might seem. The industry just needs a better grasp of its impact so that issuers can restructure their businesses around it.

But it doesn't end with Dodd-Frank. There's also servicing issues. In this month's column, Bill Berliner tackles the outcome of the negotiations between servicers, the group of state Attorneys General and the CFPB.

Bill argues that the problem with the steps outlined in the AGs' proposed settlement is that they impose a series of new procedures and requirements without considering effective implementation.

Even if the securitization industry gets its arm around the securitization items in Dodd-Frank - a Herculean and time-consuming task in itself - these servicing proposals can still serve as major deterrents to non-agency lending. The ABS industry is not quite out of the woods despite more clarity around Dodd-Frank.

These hurdles to healthy securitization are keeping issuance down, which, in turn, is feeding into a weak job market for securitization professionals. As John Hintze details in his story this month, recent reports of hires at some of the biggest securitization banks don't paint the whole picture. Finding work, even for experienced hands, is still no easy task.

The crisis-engendered shift of financial firms of having to do more with less is still with us. "It's tough to get people hired because of what we've been through," one ABS recruiter told John.

World events - the Japanese earthquake and unrest in the Middle East - are not helping the securitization world get better, as I discuss in my story. Experts say that what is happening in the Middle East might have a more long-term effect on the financial market's psyche, whereas Japan's impact will be more medium-term. Ultimately, however, commercial real estate valuations and U.S. economic recovery both hinge on the strength of job creation more than on energy prices.

Finally, Felipe Ossa re-visits Shariah bonds or sukuk and finds that asset-backeds have not been part of the market's comeback. There are a few factors for this, as he explains. And interestingly, while it's nudged up spreads, unrest in the Middle East region has not had a major impact on sukuk expectations in most of the major markets for these instruments.

- Karen Sibayan

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