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Credit derivatives

Still think that you've got time to get ready for the internet? Still sure that you've got a few quarters of easy revenues to make?

If you're an investment banker, you'd be wrong. And for the proof look to the credit derivatives market. This is one of the youngest, least commoditized markets in the business. It's not like US treasuries which has been a loss-leader for most firms for years and where systems such as TradeWeb cut back on costs.

Most credit derivatives trades are unique: with differing needs, maturities, credits and terms. And yet it is in this market that one of the fiercest on-line battles outside of retail share trading is taking place. It's a transatlantic battle, where trading costs are being cut dramatically.

In one corner we have CreditTrade, a UK-based company set up last June by Paul Ellis, formerly a credit derivatives trader with BZW before leaving in 1996 to set up Mutant Technologies, the developer of the idea and software for CreditTrade.

In the other is Creditex. Located in the area around New York's Union Square called Silicon Alley, its creators are two former credit derivatives traders from Deutsche Bank, Sunil Hirani and John McEvoy.

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