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Cusip Launches Premium Level Cusip Access Modules and New Service for European Syndicated Loans

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Cusip Global Services has launched two new services: a premium level version of Cusip Access for clients that require more advanced options for managing reference data and a new platform through which European agent banks can request Cusip or ISIN identifiers.

Cusip Access is now available as a “premium level service” with additional functionality and expanded availability of data. The enhancements include the ability to download Cusip data directly into a spreadsheet and see scrolling real-time alerts of new Cusip issuances.

“We released Cusip Access earlier in the year for our standard users but this premium level product offers additional modular subscription enhancements,” explains Darren Purcell, director of Cusip Global Services. “We made the decision at the end of last year to launch additional modules for Cusip Access and it is part of a wider plan to enhance our product set.”

It is a web-based service that can access the entire universe of Cusip numbers, including corporate, municipal, government, mortgage-backed and private placement issuers, says the vendor.

“Because it is modular clients can pick and choose the components they wish to use, so it can be tailored to their particular requirements. If the client needs to see linkages to 144A securities or associated obligor information, then they can select these modules. It is not a ‘one size fits all’ service,” Purcell continues.

These optional modules include: portfolio downloads, which allow subscribing clients to download Cusip data for up to 25 Cusip numbers or ISINs from an external source; scrolling real-time alerts of new Cusip issuances; issue level searches; and identifiers for 144A deals and links to related issues from the same private placement offering document.

Another additional module of not is associated obligor, which assists in identifying complex relationships by linking entities ultimately responsible for debt service payments in the municipal market.

“The majority of our existing clients in Europe typically use Cusip Access as a verification tool against other vendors. What we tend to find is that a lot of our clients use Cusip Access as a direct source of Cusip data and a verification tool for data from other third party vendors,” Purcell explains.

Future enhancements to this premium level service will include the availability of loan Cusips and any other areas that are identified by users. “We will be working closely with our European users to see if there are any modules that they wish to be added to the service,” he says.

Cusip Global Services’s other new service is an online European bank loan application (EBL) platform that allows European agent banks to request the assignment of Cusip identifiers and International Securities Identification Numbers (ISINs) for syndicated loans originated in Europe.

Unlike in the US, unique loan identifiers have previously not been available in Europe and the service is based on the vendor’s US version of the service but tailored to the specific needs of the European loan market.

“We have been working with the Loan Market Association (LMA) in Europe on the need for a standard identifier for European loans in the same way that the US market has our Cusips service,” explains Purcell. “It is one part of a bigger project that the LMA is engaged in to automate the processing of loans. The need for a standard identifier is one component of that project and then they will move on to things like messaging between agents. It would be very difficult to do that electronic messaging without some form of standard identifier.”

Using the EBL, registered agent banks will be able to request identifiers for their new deals and facilities, add or change existing deal information, and terminate deals that have been paid off or refinanced. European banks will also be able to make a one time request for historical loan identifiers to populate their loan databases.

Cusip Global Services will assign either a Cusip number or Cusip international number based on the domicile of the borrower, as well as a 12-character ISIN for each deal and facility.

“It has been a long project and we have been talking to the LMA for a number of months. We have worked closely with them to adapt the US system so it meets the requirements in terms of the European agent banks,” he adds.

“One of the key drivers for the LMA was our experience in the US and it was a question of adapting an existing system rather than building one from scratch. Most of the time was dedicated to communication with the LMA about our existing capabilities and then discussions about how they wanted to adapt that system. The actual development time was the shortest bit as it took around six to eight weeks.”

The vendor is now in discussions with a number of European banks to sign up to the service, says Purcell. “Unlike in the US where the banks have signed up as a group, it is up to the individual European agent banks to sign up to the service individually. We hope to have the major players signed up within the next few weeks. Most of these banks are global and see the benefit of using the same system as their counterparts in the US.”

The major difference between the US and the European services is the availability of ISINs, adds Purcell. “For the European side, unlike the US, we will be issuing both Cusips and ISINs, but because loans are not currently an asset class covered by the ISIN standard, we will issue them under the XA country code.”

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