LONDON - Last week The Loan Syndications & Trading Association (LSTA) hosted its inaugural London conference. A room full of European and U.S. players gathered to discuss the increasing cross-border business and to explore the differences between the U.S. and European markets. Participants focused on how these disparities could be bridged to encourage a more global and liquid leveraged loan market.

Clearly, participants said, the market is becoming more liquid. According to the LSTA, in 2004, the actual average trade size was estimated at $3.2 billion; by the third quarter of 2006, trading had surpassed the $2.1 billion mark. The LSTA said it would be hosting its first global operations meeting later in the week and one of the initiatives it wants to push through is the use of CUSIPs on European loans. At the moment, loans in Europe are not tagged, and therefore, are less discernable than their U.S. counterparts. A move to bring more transparency would facilitate the shift to a more global, electronic market.

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