The Securities and Exchange Commission caught the ABS market off guard last week by announcing that it scheduled an open discussion on, among other things, the offering and reporting reform proposal currently being debated. While a proposal was expected sometime in the first half of the year, most thought June was a more accurate timeframe. The SEC typically formalizes proposals in the Federal Register, a publication for rules, proposed rules and notices of the Federal Government the week following

such discussions.

The discussion comes as the industry had been bracing for rule changes in ABS reporting procedures (see ASR 4/12/2004). While increased disclosure requirements are not the sort of thing many can argue against, issuers remain concerned over the magnitude of any increased reporting responsibilities.

Following a proposal being posted, the SEC will offer a 60-day comment period, during which issuers and lobby groups may submit letters offering their advice to the SEC. The American Securitization Forum has already formed an SEC Offering Reform Task Force and plans to submit recommendations to the SEC.

Copyright 2004 Thomson Media Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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