WASHINGTON — There is a disturbing lack of data on the repo and securities lending markets that could mask a buildup of activity by nonbank lenders, according to a report published Thursday by the Office of Financial Research.

The report, authored by Viktoria Baklanova, an analyst with the agency, said while it is believed that dealers that are affiliated with bank holding companies are the primary players in the $4 trillion repo market, "this presumption lacks any certainty."

The report suggested that existing market data is opaque because it lacks a central data collection unit with standardized data. Instead, data has to be collected from a combination of call reports, regulatory filings and private vendors. In addition, not all the data that is reported to regulators is publicly available and some of the reporting requirements on repo activity separate deals by market segment. Trades settling bilaterally and outside of the triparty clearing banks platform are also not reported.

"Regulatory filings require different data elements and, depending on accounting standards, repo exposures can be reported on a net or gross basis," the report said. "These data are not available to the public unless highly aggregated."

The OFR said while measures can be taken to collect data on dealers associated with bank holding companies, which was estimated to make up 90% of the activity in 2012, dealers that are not affiliated with a bank holding company "are not systematically collected."

To bring more transparency to the repo market, the data agency has pushed for a legal ID system that would identify all the legal parties in a transaction, which would help create a common data standard. It has also launched a couple of pilot programs with the Federal Reserve Board and the Securities and Exchange Commission to improve the data that is being collected.

"These data will go a long way toward improving transparency in the securities financing markets, but there is more to do," the report said.

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