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Best multi-bank trading platform for corporate bonds: Market Axess

MarketAxess must be doing something right. Trading volumes for the third quarter of 2003 were projected to exceed $50 billion, giving MarketAxess an average annual growth in trading volume of over 300% since the beginning of 2001.

That growth is across products, with particularly impressive growth in euro-denominated bonds and emerging-markets trading. Asset-backed securities should be added to the platform in 2004. In its original core area of US high-grade credits, trading on MarketAxess totalled $1.7 billion on September 9. This was MarketAxess’s highest-ever daily total and, impressively, accounted for around 20% of total client-to-dealer activity that day. And, like TradeWeb, MarketAxess says that users are more comfortable using it for larger trades.

Six new banks have joined its dealer group so far in 2003, bringing the total to 18. The new boys include Citigroup and Goldman Sachs.

There is more to MarketAxess’s appeal than the steady disappearance of viable alternatives. The platform still works hard to increase its attraction to credit market participants. This year, it has added valuable new functionality. The MarketAxess BondTicker now feeds real-time NASD data, including execution prices on around 5,000 different issues, onto the site. To make that raw data more useful to its trading clients, BondTicker adds a real-time view of spreads and other descriptive details on the bonds.

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