“There are very few other technology providers who have their own data and their own technology in this space,” says David Little, managing director, head of structured solutions at Moody’s Analytics in New York. “Last year we spent a lot of time upgrading our systems and creating new technology tools that sit on top of our content.”
For the buyside clients this meant a continual focus on delivering content faster, through automating the way that data is gleaned from the securitization trustees, both in terms of the securities and the underlying assets. It also meant developing consolidated data workflows in one screen for investment analysts. Moreover, over the course of 2019, the firm received increasing numbers of requests from its investor clients for more granular data on liquidity.
“In 2019 people knew that the high-yield markets and the leveraged loan markets looked as if they were peaking and they saw what was coming down the pipe,” says Bhargav Jani, senior director of structured solutions for investors at Moody’s Analytics in New York. “Therefore, they were really starting to focus on liquidity, especially looking for ways to assess and benchmark the potential liquidity of individual deals.”
On the issuer side, the acquisition of Deloitte’s ABS Suite has deepened the firm’s already strong position. The Deloitte software is being offered alongside their Ki and ABS System solutions, with a vision of leveraging the best parts of each to provide a best-in-breed issuer product hosted in a modern technology infrastructure. “These software packages are mission critical for our issuer clients, so we are being very thoughtful on the speed of our migration, and we continue to offer multiple ways of using them,” says Little.
Alongside its recognition by trustees for performance data for investors, the firm is used by most of the leading issuers in the consumer ABS segment, such as auto issuers and credit card issuers. 2019 was also a year when new asset classes emerged, as the hunt for yield intensified. For some data providers this could have proved a problem, but not Moody’s Analytics. “For many years now, we have been able to capture any type of asset class that has an underlying cashflow,” says Little. “Moreover, our clients can send required transaction information over to us and we can code that up as per their request.” According to Jani, 2019 also saw a spike in some esoteric asset classes backed by aircraft receivables and consumer and marketplace loans. “It was a rapidly evolving space for us,” he says.
Figuratively speaking, Moody’s Analytics spent much of 2019 mending the roof while the sun was shining. The notable improvements to the speed and performance of its technology, the new data tools, the investment into the Deloitte system, and strong relationships with issuers, trustees, investors and investment banks have all allowed it to approach becoming the first true end-to-end solution for the entire market. Furthermore, it set the firm in good stead to face the travails of 2020.
“2019 was a pretty stable year,” says Little. “The market was humming along and demand for structured finance was high. But we were able to prepare ourselves for the changes that have come to the market in 2020.”