Arguably the largest gathering of capital markets professionals in the world, ASF 2013 had over 5,300 registrants as of Monday morning according to Tom Deutsch, Executive Director, American Securitization Forum. Vegas is bustling and it’s always a pleasure to conveniently be out of town when there’s messy weather back east.

In his welcome address, Tom reminded us that 2013 will be a most challenging year on the policy front as several major final rules will be released, putting legal and compliance departments in overdrive. He noted that investors will be working to understand new opportunities and liabilities, and that the goal of ASF is the effective and efficient implementation of these rules. I had the chance to catch up with Tom for a couple minutes after the first general session, and though he definitely deserves some time off to relax on a tropical beach where the only rule or reg worth paying attention to is not to swim until an hour after a meal, Tom is already gearing up for ASF 2014 back at the Aria January 26-29.

In the keynote address, Thomas Curry, Comptroller, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (the "OCC"), spoke about a sluggish housing recovery and said that getting the securitization market flowing is critical. As he discussed risk retention, it was comforting to hear him acknowledge that the OCC is well aware that a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work, and that the OCC and other regulatory agencies are listening carefully to all stakeholders as they craft these final rules.

The general consensus here seems to be a positive outlook for 2013. In the 2013 Securitization Market Outlook general session, it was noted that spreads in many sectors are approaching pre-crisis levels, and that 2012 was a good year — justified and a long time in the making. There were, however, only nine issuances of non-agency RMBS in 2012 — by just two issuers — but it is expected that more issuers will come to market in the latter half of this year.

Dechert partner Mac Dorris was quoted in Securitization Intelligence stating that he thinks "it is difficult to predict whether we will see a more steady flow of bank deals in 2013. There are many factors that go into the decision-making process for the banks." Mac cited the size of a bank’s deposit base, the cost of the deposits and accounting, and regulatory capital considerations as factors that banks use in deciding when to come to market.

If you’re here in Vegas, don’t miss Tuesday’s breakout session on the Volcker Rule at 2:35 p.m. in Pinyon 3. Dechert partner Cindy Williams will be speaking with other distinguished panelists. This year, certain Monday and Tuesday sessions are video webcast live and can be viewed online at, free for conference registrants and for a fee for non-registrants.

By: Laurie Nelson