ABS players have long clamored for more transparency in the market, which would, theoretically, lead to greater liquidity. Taking a stab at this demand, BNP Paribas recently unleashed a voluminous one-stop platform that it hopes can provide its clients more user friendly, organized and searchable deal information.

The industry has its fair share of market data providers, but none with such accessibility to and scope of transaction details as BNP's ABS Master Platform, the bank contends. The platform is based on a comprehensive database of ABS, MBS and CDOs dating back to 1997. Over 615 deals are included in the database, and over 500 deal prospectuses are available, representing approximately 81% deal coverage. In total, the platform's library has access to over 1700 documents. Live data feeds to other internal and external websites keep class information accurate and up-to-date.

Clients also have access to BNP's research library, and the site incorporates analytical tools that allow clients to compare bonds, plot historical transaction data, compare spread variations, and conduct spread analysis and portfolio simulations. "The information is refreshed at least once a day," said one source at the bank. The source noted that out of 1700 tranches, BNP is an active market maker in 200 to 300 - primarily for the triple-A tranches, of which there are about 600.

Clients have apparently responded positively to the platform; not only can they access BNP's data, but they can access rating agency reports with just a click. BNP is marketing the system as being user friendly enough for ABS novices to jump right into the market. "The level of information is exhaustive, and the ability to use these tools within the same platform facilitates an understanding of what is happening in the market," said one client. And unlike other products in the market today, the site allows clients to build personal portfolios that track specific transactions and all the information relating to them. Market players, both on the buyside and sellside, can better understand transactions with up-to-date document information as well as secondary market movements.

Approximately 320 market participants from the UK, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, the U.S, Japan, Hong Kong and Australia, have become registered users since the site went live in August this year.

Upcoming modifications based on client appraisal and suggestions will eventually include instant e-mail updates containing direct links to newly published documentation, enhanced search facilities, and marketing rooms that service the ABS syndicate desk. "It's not so much that the information included is revolutionary," said one investor who uses the platform. "It's the fact that you can go to one source and access a comprehensive search engine that taps into various sources and provides many of the necessary documents the market needs to see."

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