With two weeks left in the year, Citigroup Global Markets will seemingly capture the top spot in the U.S. ABS league tables for the second year in a row, according to data maintained by Thomson Financial. Through last Wednesday, Citigroup had led more than $81 billion of ABS product to date, topping second-place Countrywide Securities, which had placed nearly $70 billion. Countrywide Home Loans Inc., however, was the leading issuer, with more than $72 billion of new-issue ABS sold to date. By a seemingly overwhelming margin, Merrill Lynch was the top CDO underwriter, with $13.5 billion sold, more than double its closest competitor, Citigroup.

Michael Plunkett has joined Hypo Vereinsbank's New York office as a director in the U.S. securitization unit. In his new position, Michael will originate and structure asset-backed transactions in a variety of asset types. He reports to Managing Director Mark Hirshorn. Plunkett comes from Diversity Capital, LLC, an investment banking and consulting boutique. Prior to Diversity, Plunkett was a vice president and senior transactor in the asset-backed finance group at DZ Bank.

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