EUROPE – Growth in Europe’s structured finance and asset backed securities (ABS) markets is expected to continue this year by up to 20% fuelled by improved regulatory frameworks, increased investor interest, as yields in traditional investment classes fall, and the single currency environment, claims Kurt Sampson, managing director of Standard & Poor’s (S&P) structured finance ratings group, Europe.

In line with its strong performance levels last year, the structured finance market’s growth pattern was also very positive, says S&P, its value rising from €104.8bn in 2000 to €156.3bn in 2001.

Says Sampson: “The European ABS market’s growth has been constrained only by supply and despite the recent economic downturn we’re still expecting the market to show a solid performance in 2002. The visible pipeline is still quite full and investor appetite remains robust.”

S&P believes that the events of September 11 last did not have a significant impact on the European ABS and structured transactions and that most asset classes backed by consumer and residential mortgage loans have continued to perform well, becoming “an investment refuge” for many investors.