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April 25, 2004

Barra Credit for Europe delivers credit risk tool for asset managers

Barra, Inc., the risk management company for investment professionals, has launched a new version of its web-based credit risk tool, Barra Credit 1.1 for Europe.

By CBR Staff Writer

Barra Credit provides investors in European companies with a flexible framework to identify potential default risk earlier and more accurately, offering asset managers a way to supplement fundamental research with analytical tools.

Leveraging implied measures of credit risk from bond, equity and derivative markets, Barra Credit provides a comprehensive set of credit risk measures available for credit analysts and portfolio managers.

The tool was originally launched for investors in US companies in January. This updated version expands coverage to Europe, and now provides Barra Default Probabilities (BDPs) for over 8,000 issuers worldwide. The product is delivered as an ASP offering via a standard Internet browser, thereby lowering total cost of ownership. Pricing is based on a combination of data selection and number of users.

The buy side has very specific and unique requirements around understanding credit risk, said Debbie Williams, group vice president for Boston-based analyst firm Financial Insights in a media statement. Since there are many approaches to evaluating credit quality, the use of multiple indicators is of great value. Vendor support for buy-side credit has been virtually nonexistent and we are pleased to see the entrance of new tools to meet this need.

Credit has gone from one difficult extreme to another. After a period of extraordinary default rates in Europe, spreads have now tightened to levels we have not seen in years. Managers must find exceptional value to outperform, and avoid losers such as Parmalat at all costs. Barra Credit is the first credit analysis platform to bring together three important measures of credit risk, created specifically for asset managers, Tim Backshall, director of global credit markets strategy for Barra told the press.

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