Nasdaq Price System May Take Years for Structured Note Progress

Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. said it may take years for its Mutual Fund Quotation Service to make “measureable progress” in getting banks to list daily values for their structured notes.

Nasdaq, the second-largest operator of U.S. stock exchanges, hasn’t added any U.S. structured notes more than a month after announcing that the securities were eligible for listing, according to a review of its website. Aside from mutual funds, the service publishes pricing information on assets such as real estate investment trusts.

“It can take years to see measurable progress in initiatives of this magnitude,” Jeff Kimsey, a Nasdaq vice president of U.S. product management in Rockville, Maryland, said in an e-mail. He said even though Nasdaq began including unit investment trusts in 2000, its listings today represent less than two-thirds, or 65 percent, of the market.

The expansion of the quotation service to include structured notes, which Bloomberg News first reported last month, relies on banks to provide the quotes, which would be estimates and perhaps not guaranteed for trades.

Nasdaq charges a one-time fee of $325 and $500 annually per security, according to terms at the time of the rollout. There have been about 7,900 structured note offerings this year by 19 issuers, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Making daily prices available has been pitched by Nasdaq officials as a way to make the investments more understandable for individuals.

‘Too Opaque’

The industry needs to “tackle the misperception that structured products are too opaque and complex,” Oliver Albers, a vice president of Nasdaq OMX, said on a Dec. 2 conference call hosted by Nasdaq and the Structured Products Association. “We believe that transparency, and more specifically, the transparency provided by pricing structured products on MFQS, should help ease some of that paranoia.”

Banks create structured notes by packaging debt with derivatives to offer customized bets to retail investors while earning fees and raising money. Derivatives are contracts with values derived from stocks, bonds, commodities and currencies, or events such as changes in interest rates or the weather.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kevin Dugan in New York at kdugan4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alan Goldstein at agoldstein5@bloomberg.net

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