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BMA outlines transparency recommendations


NEW YORK—The Bond Market Assn. has filed a comment letter with the National Assn. of Insurance Commissioners recommending ways for the NAIC's Securities Valuation Office to bring greater transparency to its process of rating hybrid securities.

Among changes recommended by the New York-based BMA is creating a search function in addition to expanding the use of existing technology to deliver more real-time material information to the securities market. The association also recommended that the SVO publicly post information regarding new guidelines for securities or changes in credit analysis of securities.

Hybrid securities are instruments with characteristics of both debt and equity investments. The SVO's designation of the securities is of concern to insurance companies investing in them because of the designation's potential impact on risk-based capital charges in regulatory filings (IF, September 2006).

In the letter sent last month, the BMA recommended expanding the NAIC database to enable users to search all fields where information is displayed. Such a system would provide in a single database information that currently exists on various SVO databases, according to the BMA. Additional information would include classification and designation of a security, the decision date, the filing date and the type of filing.

The BMA represents securities firms, banks and asset managers.