EquiLend outage hits some automated securities lending services

Wall Street ends slightly lower, capping blockbuster year

(Reuters) -An outage at fintech firm EquiLend has impacted some automated securities lending services, a spokesperson at the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC) said on Thursday.

Market participants have adjusted by moving to manual processes, with limited impact, the spokesperson added.

EquiLend, a company at the heart of securities lending on Wall Street, said on Wednesday it had identified unauthorized access to its systems and a portion of its systems had to go offline.

EquiLend's securities lending platform, Next Generation Trading, manages more than $2.4 trillion in transactions each month, according to its website. Its client base includes nearly 200 asset owners, agency lending banks, broker-dealers and hedge funds.

As of Jan. 24, lendable assets stood at $35 trillion across domestic and international equities, corporate and government bonds, as well as exchange traded products, with around $2.9 trillion on loan, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The cyberattack comes months after the hack of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China's U.S. arm, which had disrupted trades in the U.S. Treasury market.

EquiLend said on Wednesday it was working with external cybersecurity firms and other professional advisers to assist with the investigation of the incident and restoring services.

The company is partly owned by some of Wall Street's biggest heavyweights, including Goldman Sachs, BlackRock, J.P. Morgan and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

EquiLend and most of the owners did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment. BlackRock declined to comment.

The FS-ISAC is an international group of institutions that share cyber intelligence.

"The sector is monitoring for any ongoing issues and coordinating through our established incident response processes and resilience mechanisms to ensure firms have the information they need to mitigate potential impacts," the group's spokesperson said.

(Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru and Laura Matthews in New York; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta, Krishna Chandra Eluri and Nick Zieminski)