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Katherine Murdie
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Omgeo today announced that the securities operations industry has rallied to eliminate wasteful paper disclosures associated with trade confirmations. Together with Omgeo, a prominent group of broker-dealers, investment managers and industry association members, including operations professionals from Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch, successfully urged the Securities and Exchange Commission to grant a no-action letter to Omgeo, voiding the need for these paper transactions. This relief will eliminate several hundred million pages of paper from the securities industry each year.

Omgeo’s broker-dealer community will be able to satisfy all of their confirmation delivery obligations to investment manager clients electronically versus via paper. The SEC letter essentially states that providing access, via a URL, to the pages of disclaimers and disclosures that brokerage legal and compliance functions typically include on the back of a trade confirm (known as the “confirm disclosure”) is sufficient for compliance to Exchange Act Rule 10b-10 (a). Previously, despite the availability of electronic confirms, the information contained in the confirm disclosure had to be sent in hard-copy form, which resulted in tremendous cost and inefficiencies associated with large amounts of paper, storage fees and postage.

“The Omgeo electronic confirmation leverages electronic media for confirm disclosure and eliminates an inefficient paper delivery process” said Steve Kelly, vice president, operations at Goldman Sachs and co-chair of Omgeo’s working group on the confirm disclosure initiative. “This solution is in our clients’ best interests and will greatly benefit the industry.”

“The industry has truly rallied together to achieve some much-needed change,” said Patti Lewis, director of global debt markets at Merrill Lynch and co-chair of Omgeo’s working group on the confirm disclosure initiative. “We first broached the need to streamline the process within the old Bond Market Association for fixed income, but are pleased we will be able to leverage the solution within equities as well, as a multi-asset class approach will help make our markets that much more efficient. Additionally, this initiative will allow the investment community to streamline their cost allocated to paper processing and distribution. The Omgeo Electronic Confirmation is a major accomplishment for fixed income and equity institutional markets.”

“It is critical to remain in compliance with Exchange Act Rule 10b-10,” said Lisa Ilaria, chairperson of the Asset Managers Forum, part of SIFMA. “However, there is no need to rely upon countless reams of paper to do so. At the AMF, we were pleased to aide Omgeo and our members in lobbying efforts to eliminate the paper confirm disclosure, as we know how costly and risky it can be to rely upon paper-based documents.”

“Omgeo is pleased that, with tremendous support from our community of clients, we were able to obtain the no-action letter swiftly and that the SEC were so responsive to our issues,” stated Lee Cutrone, managing director, industry relations at Omgeo. “This support from both our users and our regulator sends a resounding message that pain-points can be resolved smoothly with the backing of our industry. Our community has always been our strongest asset, and that has never been more obvious than now.”

The repository that will house TradeSuite confirm disclosures will be available later this year.