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Best new development: Clovis

If you are a corporate bond fund manager and have not yet heard of Clovis, the chances are you will very soon.

It is the product of several months’ hard work by Merrill Lynch and a venture capital firm called Steelhead Systems, and its most impressive feature is its simplicity.

Multibank trading platforms serve a very useful purpose. They enable fund managers to access competitive bond prices and to execute based on those prices electronically. But as every banker and fund manager knows, banks do not necessarily want all investors to see exactly the same prices, and they do not necessarily want to trade every single corporate bond every single day. So instead, every morning, many banks send investors Excel lists of prices on the bonds that they do want to buy or sell. But that becomes complicated. Some clients want more frequent updates, and then they have to remember to delete old price lists. And inevitably, each client wants to receive the spreadsheets in a slightly different format or a different colour and so on.

The main way around this problem has been for banks to distribute real-time XML price feeds to clients, which the client can then configure and manipulate.

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