DPC Data, a leading provider of municipal bond disclosure data, today introduced MuniGuard, a new suite of surveillance services for investors, advisors and brokers concerned about significant increases in the credit risk of their municipal bond holdings.
MuniGUARD tracks and provides automated notification about various events that impact credit quality. Several levels of the service are available to address subscribers' specific needs for custom filtering, timeliness and descriptive data.
This new DPC DATA information service answers the market demand for timely credit information, particularly default risk. The most recent DPC DATA research report on municipal disclosures* found that distress-related material event notices jumped from 187 in 2007 to 348 in 2008. More ominously, the number of troubled municipal credits is accelerating, with official distress notices multiplying in 2009 at more than four times the rate for the corresponding period in 2008. Monetary default notices for the month of April 2009 alone numbered more than 120.
"With the downgrading of municipal credit ratings confirming our findings, we believe that the investing community and their service providers have good reason to seek timely information about credit-related filings in the municipal bond market," said Peter J. Schmitt, CEO of DPC DATA. "MuniGUARD is designed to answer those concerns, alerting subscribers to distress filings by issuers or obligors, so that the investing community can adjust their credit risk perspective on these offerings."
The core MuniGUARD service offers market-wide tracking of any distress-related material event notice that is officially filed. These notice types include the following:
- Payment delinquencies
- Non-payment, or 'technical', defaults
- Unscheduled draws on debt service reserves
- Unscheduled draws on credit enhancements
When these notices are filed, subscribers receive instant notifications which will identify the bond offering by issuer name, dated data, issue description, coupon maturity, and CUSIP (for subscribers with a CUSIP license). The service can also include hyperlinks to the definitivee material event notices in the DPC DATA online document repository at MuniFILINGS.com. Depending on their needs, subscribers may choose from various delivery option of format, channel or supported trading platforms.
"MuniGUARD provides a first line of defense against the increasing uncertainty in today's municipal marketplace," notes Michael Ruvo, president of DPC DATA. "For investors, it reduces the risk of being caught unawares when municipal credits grow shaky. For their advisors and brokers, MuniGUARD is a simple and economical means to stay informed and protect their clients from the riskiest elements in the market."
The next tier of service is MuniGUARD Portfolio, designed to surveil a specific list of holdings or issues of interest. As with the core MuniGUARD service, subscribers will receive instantaneous notification whenever a new distress filing is made that relates to any of their listed issues and can choose the optimum delivery mechanism for their purposes.
Being launched in the third quarter is the third-tier service, MuniGUARD News, a weekly online newsletter listing the new filings of distress-related material events. MuniGUARD News is designed for investors and other market participants who do not require immediate notification, but who want to track municipal securities distress notice trends and conveniently access the definitive notices. MuniGUARD news will be priced at $59 per year.