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Seeing through the credit market fog

When Kevin Gould was head of European fixed income at TD Securities, he would look around for daily market-wide data on credit prices. None existed. So he and a few colleagues left the bank to set up a company to produce it.

The result was Mark-it Partners, which finally went live in February this year. In May the bank signed up UBS Warburg as its twelfth equity partner and Cheyne Capital Management as its first buy-side customer.

The system is a credit data exchange. Every night market makers contribute data for every cash security and credit default swap curve they close; in return they can access data from the entire pool. For each security, pooled data is used to generate a daily composite security price and spread.

The market certainly needs this type of tool. The means by which brokers determine the prices offered appears to be more of a black art than a science. As one credit analyst puts it: "Anything that attempts to take the fog out of the corporate bond market has to be a good thing." John Weiss, portfolio manager at Cheyne Capital, says it will be using Mark-it to verify traders' marks across the 450 credit curves it tracks and that it will pair well with the company's own daily marking procedures.

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