Issuers are the bread and butter of the ABS industry, and drawing new collateral sources into the market means drawing new personalities - and their firms - into the securitization market. Last week's new issuer workshop, focusing on securitization fundamentals, attracted a packed room dominated by newcomers.
"Considering all the hoopla over having two competing conferences, this is a positive sign for the market going forward," said one panelist privately.
About two-thirds of the people in the room had not yet securitized any assets, a quick count by the panelists indicated; a handful of others had done only one transaction. The bottom line is that new issuers are still drawn to the market.
"My company has had bankers from several firms visit us about securitization options," said one attendee who hailed from a West Coast-based firm that began mortgage-lending operations a few years ago. "But I came to the conference to do my due-diligence on securitization. You can't just rely on the bankers."
Whereas on- or off-balance sheet concerns were a prevalent trend a year or two ago for new issuers, panelist Steven Hennessee of Banc One Capital Markets noted their focus has changed to disclosure.
"Keep in mind Sarbanes-Oxley. Some private companies aren't prepared to meet that," Hennessee said.
"Post-closing is becoming increasingly important," said Thomas Glanfield, partner, Ernst & Young. Calling attention to the time after the deal closes, Glanfield pointed to tax compliance and auditing SPVs as areas that new issuers need to pay close attention to.
New issuers also need to take the factor of time into consideration. "Timing is critical. Whatever you think the timing is, double it," said Jesse Mann, of Fitch Ratings.
Given the paperwork involved, from balance sheets and financial statements to corporate history, getting internal folks motivated in order to get that information in an accurate and timely manner was also emphasized.
On that note, attorney Matt Joseph said that in many instances, internal employees have shown distress at the level of disclosure they're asked to comply with from rating agencies and lawyers working on the deal. But they may not realize how much weight legal considerations carry in these financial transactions.