J.J. Kenny Co. yesterday announced a new computer system capable of consolidating the firm's various municipal information services on one screen at prices as much as 50% below current Kenny fees.
The new computer service, called the McGraw-Hill Municipal Screen, will allow clients to use the Kenny-base and Kennyquote data systems on the same screen as the firm's official statement repository, Kennyalert service, and other company products, according to J. Kevin Kenny, president of the firm. The screen also will give users on-line access to Standard & Poor's Corp.'s The Blue List and Cusip Service Bureau.
"The municipal market has to come of age," Mr. Kenny said in explaining the need for consolidated information sources and an on-line data system.
The new service is part of a $15 million capital infusion into the firm by McGraw-Hill Inc., Kenny's parent Company. An expansion of the Kennybase municapal data base also is part of that package.
The data system will provide expanded information on the 1.5 million tax-exempt issues currently tracked by the company, including paying agents, full call schedules, and market price quotes, the firm announced. The system will be expanded to include more information on corporate bonds and collateralized mortgage obligations, as well.
Mr. Kenny said he also will be introducing new systems to track municipal bond defaults, provide historical credit data, and better analyze hospital and health-care credits. Kenny plans to provide Treasury price information and a faster bid-wanted and offering service for municipals as well.
According to company officials, the new system will be provided over the next six to nine months to Kenny's clients and could cut the cost of using the firm's on-line systems in half.
Mr. Kenny said precise fee schedules will be released shortly.
The decision to consolidate the firm's numerous information products on one screen came in response to customer complaints about the number of terminals required to track information, company officials explained.
The Mc-Graw-Hill screen will incorporate a "universal communications processor," which clients rent from Kenny to coordinate access to the system. Up to 30 personal computers can be connected to each processor, with each connection progressively less expensive for the client.
Fees for accessing the system will be charged on a per-use basis, Kenny's current policy.
Also on tap at Kenny is a revamped 30-day high-grade tax exempt index, which is the current industry standard for the municipal interest rate swap market. The index has come under increasing scrutiny in recent months, with bankers trying to find ways to make the index a more accurate reflection of the municipal swap market.
Mr. Kenny said changes to the index will be announced this fall.
American Banker*Bond Buyer, the parent company of The Bond Buyer, is planning to announce a competing municipal information service, MuniView, on July 1, according to officials at the company.
The system will offer many of the same information services as the McGraw-Hill screen, and fees also will be on a per-use basis. Current subscribers to Munifacts Plus, one of the company's electronic information services, will be able to accesss MuniView without additional hardware or subscription fees.