• Electronic Trading

      • Maxfunds.com went live last week with a site that purports to be the only place on the Web where an average investor can easily research and compare equity no-load mutual funds. With over 1550 funds on the site—200 of them small, unknown funds that may still be valuable to the average investor—Maxfunds.com is poised to become a financial information portal.
      • Competition is good and consolidation of order flow may be necessary, but a Nasdaq-sponsored central limit order book is not in the best interests of ECNs. At least, that’s the opinion of panelists who last week spoke at an SIA-sponsored conference session entitled: ECNs, Friend or Foe. During the session, representatives from Island, Archipelago, TradeBook and Instinet debated the good, the bad and the future of the ECN business.
      • As e-commerce pervades the brokerage community, the buy side is beginning to see services never imagined before the advent of the Internet. Brokerages, and third-party vendors, are scrambling to offer institutional money managers online services—from trading and research to risk and portfolio management tools—that will only increase the level of service that the buy side receives, says Bob Iati, an analyst in the securities and investment practice at the TowerGroup.
      • The recently expanded and enhanced InvestmentSeek.com site provides institutional investors with a complete source for information and research. The site, which currently is attracting about two hundred users per month, brings together and provides links for Web sites focusing on information relevant to the institutional arena.
      • Dresdner RCM Gestion, the French division of Dresdner RCM Global Investors, has just completed installing the core portfolio management component of Décalog’s IDÉE, and is beginning installation of the application suite’s various modules, including IDÉE Trader, IDÉE Compliance and IDÉE Performance. The firm, which spent over 10 months of 1999 installing IDÉE’s core functionality, is beginning to port its client portfolios from the proprietary system that is being replaced.
      • In a stock deal valued at $100 million, online trading firm Tradescape.com last week acquired the after-hours trading system MarketXT. Under the arrangement, which is expected to be completed within a few weeks, Tradescape is expected to integrate the MarketXT trading system with its own and route orders through the recently SEC-approved ECN. While exact terms of the deal have not been revealed, the companies have outlined their plans to go after the institutional arena.
      • W-Trade, known for enabling brokers and their clients with wireless trading, has extended its wireless application suite to include w-401k, a portfolio management and trading application suited for investors and fund managers. The product, released with a host of others last week, can also be set up to deliver alerts on position changes dependent on predefined rules.
      • The NexTrade ECN has completed its formal application to become a for-profit stock exchange and is now awaiting final approval from the SEC. The proposed NexTrade Exchange is expecting to be operational by October of 2000, says Mark Yegge, CEO of NexTrade Holdings. In anticipation of gaining exchange status, NexTrade is teaming with BEA systems to build a high-volume stock trading system. NexTrade has also entered into an agreement with Dreyfus Brokerage Services to provide Dreyfus customers with market access, trade executions and technology.
      • Heartline Investment Corp., a Chicago-based portfolio manager, has just installed Moxy, Advent Software’s trading and modeling system. As a longtime user of Advent’s portfolio accounting system, Axys, and its reconciliation module, Rex, Heartline did not consider any other trading systems. The firm is a low turnover shop, says Tim Greive, portfolio manager, and after speaking with other Moxy users, he decided the system was functional enough to meet the firm’s needs.
      • Investec Ernst & Company, the North American arm of the Investec Group, an international banking group based in Johannesburg, South Africa, is rolling out its new DeskTec system. The platform provides correspondent clearing and prime brokerage clients with easy access to Investec Ernst applications via either the Internet or a leased line connection. Through DeskTec, clients can enter orders, manage orders, view account information and access news and quotes. In the future, Investec Ernst plans to expand the offerings to include an options execution platform, as well as research tools.
      • In an effort to provide its retail clients with online fixed-income trading capability, Mr. Stock—an Internet brokerage firm specializing in stock and options trading—is discussing a technology partnership with Cantor Fitzgerald L.P.’s eSpeed unit. Under the proposed alliance, eSpeed would provide Mr. Stock with an interface to its electronic bond-matching engine. Through the Mr. Stock/eSpeed interface, clients of the online broker would for the first time have the ability to view bond prices and perform executions over the Internet.
      • New York-based inter-dealer broker GFI Group has launched a new electronic trading platform for the professional trading community. GFInet is currently in use at GFI Group’s international equity business and is in the process of being installed at 15 client sites.
      • Denver-based Techfi Corp. has launched ePortfolio 2000, a Web-based portfolio management system for registered investment advisors (RIAs) and broker/dealers. The system allows users to manage all client portfolios with real-time access to account data and report generation through the Microsoft SQL server database via the Internet. The fact that Techfi is marketing a portfolio management solution to brokers speaks to the continuing convergence in the financial-services arena. As individual investors have increasingly turned to cheaper trades at online brokerages, full service firms are evolving into financial advisors — or money managers — forced to offer advice on long-range investment goals to retain clients.
      • CreditEx.com, an online trading system covering the over-the-counter credit derivatives market, is beta-testing its execution capabilities and expects to go live by the end of the first quarter. Fifty institutions have already signed up with CreditEx, and the firm counts as investors the Bank of Montreal, J.P. Morgan Securities, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Deutsche Bank and Canadian Imperiale Bank of Commerce.
      • In an effort to get more small and mid-sized institutional investors to participate in the primary debt market, Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB) has launched PrimeDebt, an electronic order-entry and execution system. PrimeDebt, which will be delivered over the Internet, will be targeted at CSFB’s full complement of 10,000 institutional investor clients.
      • Another entrant in the race to consolidate the data of ECN limit order books of is making great strides to become the first source for integrated ECN data. The site, 3DStockCharts.com, has been live with real-time data on buy and sell orders placed through the Island ECN, and displays two dimensional and three dimensional charts representing the data.

Thought Leaders

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