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Merrill Lynch: Most improved bank in fixed income

Merrill Lynch wins a special award for most improved bank in fixed income partly because it has overhauled its technology, It has rolled out a number of new features, many of which are very sales-friendly. And it has done all this cheaply.

Stefano Blotto, managing director of online fixed income at Merrill Lynch, says: "The traditional approach has been the e-commerce teams dictating to the business and the clients. We've turned around the paradigm of who dictates to whom."

It shows. Several of the new applications that the bank demonstrated this year brought sales teams into the loop. For example, sales can now look at a blotter for each client, which shows the client's activity not just on MLX, the bank's own site, but also on TradeWeb, MarketAxess, BondHub and Merrill's Bloomberg site. They can see not just the trades done, but each enquiry.

Through a system called DebtFlow, sales can also track all the bond trading from the bank's inventory, and see where and with whom it is placed. Sales teams can also see all the trading flows inside Merrill Lynch - where the best demand is, on a geographic and investor-type basis. This helps to draw out patterns and suggest transactions to clients.

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