Thursday, July 3, 2008

ISDA announces single-name CDS portfolio compression initiative

NEW YORK, Wednesday, July 2, 2008 – The International Swaps and Derivatives Association, Inc. (ISDA) today announced the conclusion of the Request for Proposal (RFP) selection process for “portfolio compression.” Portfolio compression, which will focus on single name trades, is a process that reduces the overall size and the number of line items in credit portfolios, without changing the risk parameters of the portfolio.

“ISDA is pleased to play an important role in this industry effort to improve operational efficiency,” said Robert Pickel, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, ISDA. “Portfolio compression, as well as efforts to hardwire the settlement mechanics into the credit derivatives definitions, will continue to be an area of focus for ISDA throughout 2008.”

Discussions on portfolio compression began in early May. Since then, an ISDA working group looked at the most efficient way to implement a portfolio compression process. On June 11, ISDA issued an RFP to coordinate the selection by 13 institutions of a third party vendor that would facilitate the compression service. ISDA then organized a selection committee comprised of business representatives from the institutions that ultimately selected the combination of Markit and Creditex to provide the initial portfolio compression service.

The industry is working against aggressive timelines. The 13 institutions that have committed to participate in the first round of portfolio compression are expected to start the process by the end of July. In the meantime, ISDA has set up several working groups to look at business, legal, tax, operational and other considerations for portfolio compression.

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