Based on the results of a recent Structured Finance Market Opinion survey conducted by Standard & Poor's, securitization professionals named operational risk as the second most significant factor that is likely to affect the outcome of a deal, reinstating the fact that it continues to be a looming concern for players in the marketplace.

According to the study, more than 75% of the participants named servicer quality as the most critical element of a transaction's operational risk profile. This in large part relates to blowups in the asset-backed market that date back to 2000, Michael Gutierrez, a director in S&P's structured finance group and head of the servicer evaluations team. It started with LTV Steel, continuing to manifest itself with a flurry of market mishaps involving such companies as Heilig-Meyers, Conseco Finance, National Century Financial Enterprises, and NextCard, added Ted Burbage, a managing director in S&P's structured finance group.

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