At first it seemed like it was just a matter of Asset Backed Alert jumping on the bandwagon, following our story on the troubles brewing with ASF's convention next week.

(Ours was a follow in a subscription only Bloomberg report.)

The headline of the print version of the ABAlert they had for guests at the Structured Finance Industry Group and the Information Management Network's ABS Vegas 2014 was spiking the ball.

"SFIG Headcount Confirms Headliner Status."

And it feels that way. Registration was crowded and it was standing room only at the early afternoon conferences, at a time when flights from the East Coast were delayed and many guests were still in transit.

By early evening the breakout sessions were packed even if there was little in terms of breakout news -- every opinion seems qualified with "moderate" "possible" "tepid" and so on. The regulatory environment seemed to dominate most conversations. The cafes and restaurants and bars were overflowing with men and women sporting their ABS Vegas tags, letting their freak flags fly by stuffing their ties in their jacket pockets and letting the chips fall where they may.

(The Concrete World convention down the street does seem like it's a little wilder, but these guys know how to party.)

Expect that pretty much all of the 5,300 registered guests are here as of Wednesday morning.

If one agenda not on the official agenda is that this is supposed to cement SFIG's conference as the Big Game for the industry, check that one off.

The ABAlert newsletter may have spiked the ball, but Jade Friedensohn, senior vice president for IMN, did an end zone dance at the opening general session on Wednesday, Jan. 22.

"This is now officially the largest investment market conference in country. Amid regulatory uncertainty, trade group upheaval and other factors, we have record turnout," she said. "Like the [soft drink] ad from back in the 1980s ... We do know you had a choice. You’ve got the right one baby."

To be fair, it does seem like investors in asset-backed securities are distracted this week ... at least it does when studying anemic trades in the private-bond market.