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Four Yield A Portal

Four investment banks in Australia have joined together in a project which will yield the first Australian and New Zealand Internet-based trading and research bonds portal.

The yieldbroker portal is a joint initiative of Deutsche Bank, Saloman Smith Barney, Warburg Dillon Read and the Westpac Bank, and will offer online fixed income secondary trading and research for institutional clients of the project sponsors.

Scheduled for launch in May, the yieldbroker.com portal has been developed and will be maintained by Sydney-based Molten Markets, a financial sector e-commerce firm which will also have an interest in the joint venture.

The four sponsors of yieldbroker.com have committed to providing real-time quotes and rapid response to price inquiries on one screen with a single log-on access.

"Essentially we provide live prices from all four firms to the yieldbroker.com site," said fixed income head of Salomon Smith Barney, Jeff Herbert-Smith.

Yieldbroker allows the client to electronically request a firm price for Australian government and semi-government bonds, selected Australian corporate bonds and New Zealand government bonds.

The client request will then be displayed to the participating investment banks which will each return separate quotes for the client to reject or accept.

The four project sponsors will not have access to each other's information on the site - only clients will be able to see the returned research and all four quotes provided on the screen, with a secure access code required to gain entry.

Another major part of the yieldbroker.com site is access to the collective fixed income research resources of Deutsche Bank, Salomon Smith Barney, Warburg Dillon Read and Westpac, giving the buyer a comprehensive picture before they decide to transact.

"The concept of all of this is to filter the huge mounds and volume of information," said Simon Carmody, managing director of Molten Markets. "The volume of debt resources is enormous, this site offers faster access and fewer clicks, meaning better speed to market".

The system is set to offer a faster and more efficient alternative to the current telephone ordering system for bonds. "Investment is solely at the client's choice," said Herbert-Smith. "We're just replacing the phone or other messaging system and taking it to a more efficient platform".

Warburg Dillon Read's Jon Lechte said the main focus of the site would initially be "seamless navigation, but while the whole concept is evolving".

"We are bringing global best practices to local markets, but we're not looking for the site to be static," said Lechte.

Lechte and his partners did not rule out the possibility of other partners coming on board the venture in the future. "Our speed to market is essential, but we will leave options open for the future. Our system is definitely capable of adding more partners," said Lechte.

The venture also announced their intentions to secure a partnership with a major carrier to provide a "secure broadband network with WAP capabilities".