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by Edward C. Kelleher

Susan Cosgrove, DTCC managing director and general manager, Settlement and Asset Services

With the increase in distressed securities, financial services firms are looking for the latest information affecting their clients’ portfolios; and that’s why more and more banks and financial institutions are turning to DTCC’s Legal Notice System (LENS) to find out about bankruptcies, defaults, class actions and reorganizations.

LENS – described by one industry leader as having “a hallowed status in the business” – provides information that has become increasingly important to investors since it can have a direct impact on their investment decisions.

LENS gives customers easy online access to a comprehensive library of the latest legal notices offering information about DTC-eligible issues, as it becomes available.

“Given the current economic environment, firms are getting more inquiries about debt instruments,” said Susan Cosgrove, DTCC managing director and general manager, Settlement and Asset Services. “Many events, such as bankruptcies, accelerated maturities or changes in bond indentures, have a downstream effect and can impact investors. Clients expect their banks and financial advisers to provide information to them quickly and efficiently. LENS can help them do this.”

Sourcing notices

As the central depository for the U.S., The Depository Trust Company (DTC), a DTCC subsidiary, holds in custody an estimated 85% of U.S. securities. This means it receives legal notices on all securities in custody from numerous sources, including issuers, agents and the courts, making it the most complete repository of legal notices in the U.S.

DTC is required to make these notices available to its customers, and LENS, available online since 2000, facilitates the dissemination of this information from a single source. Customers can search for notices by CUSIP, a keyword such as an issuer’s name or a LENS document number, which may be cross-referenced in corporate action information DTC provides through its reorganization systems.

The free email alert service has proven especially valuable for LENS users who need to stay on top of important information for their clients. By setting notification preferences, LENS users can keep abreast of the newly posted notices meeting their criteria.

A sharper LENS

“LENS also helps firms deal with compliance and transparency concerns,” said Cosgrove, “and the enhancements we made in the last year based on user feedback have made it easier for customers to find the notices they need with less time and effort.”

Enhancements include:

  • Expansion of the notice description field, so that if a notice pertains to multiple CUSIPs, all CUSIPS are listed so customers can quickly scan the description to see if the notice pertains to them rather than having to open the notice to see all the CUSIPs it references.
  • Ability to search for multiple CUSIPs within a date range.
  • Further breakdown of the notices to holders’ category so the user can search for specific notice types such as bankruptcy, default, litigation/class actions, letter of credit substitution, or cost basis. @

[To learn more about LENS, contact Joyce Rosen at 212.855.3935 or]