The most senior investors in many collateralized debt obligations, known as "super-seniors," are taking advantage of the terms of the instruments by taking control of the deals and ensuring that their money is returned before anyone else's in the deal. "Investors agreed to terms which give senior noteholders control following certain triggers because they thought these were never going to happen," said Ed O'Connell, a partner at the law firm Jones Day. "Many CDOs are now hitting the triggers." The conflicts highlight how little investors paid attention to the specific terms of the instruments in their rush to finalize CDO deals.

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