DPC DATA Inc., a pioneer in electronic municipal market data, celebrated its 25 years in the industry by introducing a new product this year that addresses the market's need for best execution review.
A closely held private company headquartered in Roseland, N.J., DPC DATA was founded in 1992. Today over 100,000 professionals at brokerage, clearing, and advisory firms use the firm’s products and services to access official statements, material events and continuing disclosures. The firm continues to innovate and expand into new areas based on their customer's feedback.
In 2017, along with celebrating its 25th Anniversary, DPC introduced MuniTRADEVIEW, an electronic platform for best execution review where customers can access real-time and historical bid wanted and offering data. The data is aggregated from the participating members of Municipal Bond Information Services. Users can also compare a transaction price to over 125,000 daily market observations collected from secondary trading feeds.
MuniTRADEVIEW came about in response to clients who were becoming worried about the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board’s Rule G-18 on best execution and how best to meet its requirements.
Ken Hoffman, President of DPC, said that last year he contacted Ron Valinoti, the board manager of MBIS, a consortium of muni bond dealers that provides live market data.
"He had the data that was crucial to the 'waterfall' review approach described in the G-18 regulation, so we started looking into how we could create workflows that incorporated that data, and would match our clients’ needs," Hoffman said. "We got an overwhelming response to our prototypes last year, and this year we actually built a solution."
DPC maintains an open dialog with the MSRB and FINRA as it relates to the ongoing evolution of its products and services.
Back in 1997, DPC became one of the first Nationally Recognized Municipal Securities Information Repository designated by the Securities and Exchange Commission. DPC has since evolved from being a NRMSIR to a firm that addresses disclosure-related regulatory compliance, investment suitability, portfolio surveillance, underwriting and due diligence.
In 2003, DPC launched MuniPOINTS, a product that condenses facts into a news brief that aims to streamline disclosure compliance. The documents contain descriptive sheets on muni issues with bullet-points taken directly from official statements, with no analytic content.
In 2010, DPC unveiled MuniDOCS Online, which provides access to officially filed disclosure documents. It gives information needed to meet regulatory obligations and to analyze risk and pricing by linking to the DPC archive which goes back to 1994 and covers 95% of all active issues. Also in 2010, DPC launched MuniGUARD Pro, which reports portfolio information by providing access to disclosure and news by CUSIP-9 and offers the tracking of all new developments by issuer or obligor.
In 2011, the company unveiled MuniGUARD News, which addresses the expanding definitions of regulatory disclosure compliance for dealer and asset management firms.
In 2015, DPC launched its Filings Summary solution to support underwriters’ due diligence requirements under a regulatory provision requiring a five-year look back.
“Over the past couple of years one of the most important products for us has been Filings Summary, which addresses the SEC’s MCDC [Municipalities Continuing Disclosure Cooperation] initiative for underwriters,” said Hoffman. “That product actually took us into a new marketplace.”
Designed with the competitive bid process in mind, the standard report provides real-time generation with live document links and necessary filing dates. The professional report is coupled with a calculation tool to determine reporting compliance and a workspace to highlight compliance issues and maintain user commentary.
“When the MCDC initiative happened, we did a lot of work with 20 to 25 different underwriters out there in helping them do their lookback and their due diligence,” said Joe Rodriguez, senior vice president of DPC, who has been at the firm since 1997 and is responsible for production systems. “And everyone's question was ‘What’s going to happen next?’ So as we were doing our work for them, we started collecting more information, databasing more details from talking to all these people and we came up with the Filings Summary solution.”
Hoffman said the solution is the combination of the efforts of both man and machine.
“We don’t just do things programmatically, using technical solutions. We do have some algorithms that we create to find information that we need to disseminate to our clients but we also have a very skilled analysts in our company and they’ve been with us for many years.”
DPC currently employs about 35 analysts.
Hoffman, who joined DPC in 2015, added that MuniPOINTS and its add-on services continues to be an important product for DPC. Previously, Hoffman was director of wealth management products for Tradeweb Direct. Prior to that, he held similar positions at BondDesk, Cashedge and S&P Global Ratings.
Today, DPC’s clients include more than 60 of the top broker/dealers and banks. Its methodology is based on 86,000 obligors and its database is linked to over 5.3 million CUSIPs. DPC’s database, which goes back 20 years, also holds 1.1 million material event notices, over 1 million continuing disclosures, which include financials, more than 500,000 official statements, and almost 1 million obligor-relevant news items.
“I think in the future, you’ll see more of the same from us, in terms of our very close relationship with our clients” Hoffman said. “You’ll see us building on the relationships with have with our clients by keeping up on new regulatory things that come out. We are also very close to the alternate trading systems and they’re good partners of ours and they have changes in their workflow based on new technology that’s coming out and we will be listening very carefully to see how that may affect our clients.”
DPC will continue to be customer focused, Rodriguez said.
“We are a solution provider," he said. "So if there is anything our clients are struggling with or need help with, they can reach out, and there is constant contact going back and forth and we help them in any way that we can.”