CSFB invests in Asian online trading platform

Global investment bank Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB) has become the latest investor in Hong Kong-based BondsInAsia Ltd, a company that's currently developing an online trading platform for bonds in Asia.

SINGAPORE--Global investment bank Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB) has become the latest investor in Hong Kong-based BondsInAsia Ltd, a company that's currently developing an online trading platform for bonds in Asia.

CSFB joins BNP Paribas, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and HSBC as equal investors in the one-year-old company.

In a telephone interview today, BondsInAsia CEO Albert Cobetto declined to reveal how much each financial partner invested in the company, but said: "Apart from the money invested, they have involved their fixed income operations in developing the platform".

"We have increased the capital base of the company," he added, without revealing specifics.

The trading platform--which will enable multi-dealer pricing and execution of trades through the public Internet and other private networks--is targeted at institutional and corporate players, and is expected to be launched "in the near future", the company said in a statement today.

It aims to cover Asian issues in all major Asian currencies and Asia credits in G3 denominated currencies by operating trading hubs in major markets and franchising its common infrastructure to local dealers.

Launch yet to be determined
The portal has delayed its launch since March this year.

When asked about the delay in April, Cobetto said: "The legal formation of the company took place in late November last year...The shareholders, who were working on the system, decided to put additional features and look at the various aspects of the functionality of the system. That process took a little more time."

He could not commit to a firm time frame for the launch of the trading platform today, but said: "We are conducting users' acceptance testing for the platform...We hope to complete the testing in September and to launch right after the complete round of testing, if our shareholders are satisfied."

According to him, the platform has gone through two phases of testing by software developers and systems architects.

As reported earlier, the first to go online would be BondsInHongKong, which would trade in domestic Hong Kong dollar denominated bonds; BondsInSingapore, in domestic Singapore dollar denominated bonds; and G3BondsInAsia, in Asian issuer bonds in reserve currencies.

He reiterated the company's plans to eventually expand into South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, the Philippines, India and Malaysia over the next 12 to 18 months, subject to "regulatory approvals". He did not provide further details.

Other bond portals in the market include Hong Kong-based asiabondportal.com (which is currently live) and Australia-based yieldbroker.com (yet-to-be-launched).

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