Following the recent departure of Shant Harootunian, Liz Duggan has received her second promotion in the space of a year, as she steps into Harootunian’s shoes as managing director of Interactive Data’s Evaluations business. The vendor has also recently signed an exclusive agreement with Prism Valuation to offer the vendor’s valuations for loans made available by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in connection with the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF).
Interactive Data first promoted Duggan in January to the position of chief operating officer of Evaluations, but she has now assumed full control of the valuations focused business line. In her new role, Duggan reports directly to Mark Hepsworth, president of Interactive Data’s Institutional Business.
Duggan certainly has a lot to be getting on with: the new TALF offering alone should keep her on her toes. The vendor was already offering evaluations for underlying TALF eligible asset backed securities (ABS) and commercial mortgage backed securities (CMBS), so it was no great leap in logic to move into offering valuations for the TALF eligible securities and liabilities themselves.
The TALF loan valuation process takes into account the value and assumptions of the underlying ABS and CMBS collateral, the terms of the loan, and the value of the theoretical put option embedded in the loan. Borrowers under the TALF programme must value both the TALF eligible securities and liabilities (TALF loans) for financial reporting purposes.
“We have observed that an increasing number of our clients – mutual funds, institutional asset managers, insurance companies and hedge funds – are taking advantage of the unique investment opportunities resulting from the TALF programme,” explains Duggan. “A valuation provider needs a comprehensive understanding of these hard to value instruments, including the optionality embedded within the loans. We have collaborated with Prism Valuation to provide our clients with valuations that reflect the unique characteristics of TALF loans.”
The aim is therefore to provide the market with valuations data that would not otherwise be available, as firms that choose to borrow under the TALF programme must value these loans at fair value. US regulators have been pushing for more and more data around valuations in the structured products and derivatives space, thus justifying the increase in data vendor offerings in this space.
Last month, the vendor also announced another agreement with Pluris Valuation Advisors, a specialist provider of valuations for illiquid securities, to provide daily valuations for municipal auction rate securities and student loan auction rate securities. This partnership is aimed at enhancing the monthly and quarterly valuation reports already provided by the vendor for these securities in particular.
During her 10 years at the vendor, Duggan has worked in a number of roles in its Institutional Business division. She first joined the company in 1999 following the acquisition of Muller Data, a municipal bond pricing specialist business. During the past year, she has helped lead initiatives to enhance and expand the vendor’s evaluated pricing services, broaden overall market coverage, provide more transparency to evaluation services and bring new talent into the organisation, says the vendor.
Hepsworth is confident that Duggan will bring value to her new role: “During the past decade, she has held a range of operational and client facing roles that have helped drive the growth of our Evaluations business and ensure a high level of communication with major clients, regulators and industry bodies. Given the increased focus that clients are directing toward their valuation processes, Liz and her team are advancing key initiatives that will further support our clients as they continue turning to Interactive Data for independent evaluations that reflect current market activity.”
As for Harootunian, very little is known about his rather sudden exit. He is likely off to pastures new, but whether that is to another vendor or a former Interactive Data client firm, only time will tell.
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