November 3, 2008 / 9:31 PM / 11 years ago

UPDATE 1-Lehman bond index name change marks end of era

(Recasts, adds integration of fixed income business)

By Richard Leong

NEW YORK, Nov 3 (Reuters) - In a tumultuous year that has forever changed the financial market, the Lehman Brothers Aggregate Index, whose status in the U.S. bond market is comparable to the Standard & Poor’s 500 index, is no more.

The two-decade-old index was officially renamed “Barclays Capital Aggregate” index on Monday as a part of the integration and relaunch of Lehman’s widely followed indices under Barclays Capital’s name.

“Everything else is basically going to be the same. It’s still going be the benchmark,” said Derrick Wulf, portfolio manager at Dwight Asset Management in Burlington, Vermont.

In September, Barclays Capital’s parent, British bank Barclays Plc (BARC.L), agreed to buy Lehman’s North American investment banking and capital market businesses for about $1.75 billion after Lehman filed for bankruptcy in September.

Barclays’ U.S. investment banking unit also said it completed its integration of Lehman’s U.S. bond business under its name.

Lehman’s Aggregate index, designed to represent the universe of U.S. investment-grade bonds, has become a bond market benchmark since it was created in 1986.

“Under the unified brand, Barclays Capital is committed to continuing the calculation and publication of the existing Barclays Capital indices as well as the existing family of Lehman Brother indices,” Barclays Capital said in a statement.

Investors are confident the renamed “Ag” index will retain its benchmark status. The cosmetic move will result in changes in printed materials like prospectuses in the coming months, they said.

“Lehman will fade into history ... but the function and value of the index will remain,” said Jason Brady, portfolio manager at Thornburg Investment Management in Santa Fe, New Mexico. (Editing by Dan Grebler)

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