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Capital Markets

iBoxx creates global platform

The cash bond trading index has launched a US version

iBoxx has launched US dollar indices to complement its European and Asian offerings.

"Clients have said 'we like what you are doing in Europe – we need a global platform'," says David Mark, chief executive of the International Index Company.

iBoxx was created four years ago because 11 banks and Deutsche Börse realized that investment decisions in fixed income were increasingly being driven by indices. iBoxx mirrors the indices model from the equity markets, where multiple contributors provide prices. This results in independence, transparency and better prices.

Until iBoxx's formation, indices were in the hands of the investment banks, which bore the cost of indices because of the ancillary benefits they bring to their franchises.

Virtually all the leading investment and commercial banks generate indices for their customers. Lehman Brothers is perceived to be the leader but Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, JPMorgan and Citigroup, among others, all have one. The key difference is that iBoxx has all its data publicly available, free of charge, providing commonly accepted sets of statistics. Analysts are able to use the same benchmarks instead of referencing only those of their own institutions. Although there are the synthetic CDX indices, these would appear not to move in line with real-money portfolios.

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