While the first day of workshops at ABS conferences – which generally take place during the initial meet and greet/registration period – are typically slow, at the IMN/Fabozzi "Investor & Issuer Summit on Global ABS 2003" held in Barcelona this week, some of the seminars were scoring 100-plus audiences. 

The mid-day "CDO Analytics" panel saw nearly 200 in attendance, with European CDO investors apparently as concerned with transparency issues as those in the U.S. One investor on the panel said that one of the biggest challenges is the access to trustee reports, which are hard to come by for those who don’t already own the bonds. “We’d like to see free access to trustee reports in some sort of centralized database,” the investor said.

He added that investors do appreciate the strides the rating agencies have taken to add transparency and liquidity to the market.

That said, Chris Pardue, CEO of independent asset manager Prytania, noted that the trustee reports are generally stale or at least dated with a lag-time of one-month or so. Pardue would like to see something develop in the-real time, as he believes that trustees are privy to daily information.

General overview

While the first-day seminars were unusually packed, the showcase halls boasted no less a crowd. Booths here are set up on multiple levels in multiple rooms, each with decent attendee flow. In the tradition of asset-backed conferences, approximately one out of five booths were offering some sort of  alcoholic beverage, with the remaining four-of-five handing out token desktop gadgets.

Of the gadgets, the trustee arm of ABN AMRO is offering a cup-shaped desktop cell phone stand that flashes when the phone vibrates. The investment banking side of Amrois raffling off a motorized skateboard/scooter hybrid. Other raffles include: Lewtan, which is offering a Sony Playstation, and default swap data provider CreditEx, which is offering a Microsoft XBOX.

Speaking of CreditEx, the firm will announce today that it has formed a joint venture with Gimme Credit, an independent research service that analyzes high-grade corporate bonds for institutional investors.

More to come...

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