BMA Develops Securities-Master Database for Fixed Income
The Bond Market Association has taken a big step forward in its quest to develop a securities-master database for fixed-income data. Joseph Sack, executive vice president of the BMA and staff adviser for the committee, says the BMA has selected NEC as the vendor for its hosting facility to store the securities information. In addition, Niteo Partners, a technology-focused consulting firm and wholly owned subsidiary of NEC, has been tapped to work with the BMA and NEC to provide connectivity assistance.
The securities-master database will identify and describe a standard set of details around bond issues. The BMA plans to launch the database as a sort of portal to deliver descriptive information on bonds through a central, standardized database. By standardizing the bond descriptions, the BMA aims to streamline the process of distributing and accessing descriptions of new bond issues - from CUSIP information to yields.
Sack says that firms would then be able to refer calls, which sometimes can number in the hundreds, to the hosting facility's portal where they could access the information in a standardized format. Currently, firms have to deal with multiple information sources for the descriptions, which may not be consistent or complete.
Sack estimates that within three to six months the database service will be ready to begin populating new issues. Initially, the focus will be on municipal bonds and corporate securities but ultimately that will be extended to cover all fixed-income securities. And by the middle of next year, Sacks says, the group will have a better idea of when thedatabase will be live and usable.
WealthTouch Introduces Aggregation Tool
WealthTouch, a Denver-based, wealth-management back-office and consulting firm, has launched a new data-aggregation tool called WealthTouch Portfolio Reporting. The tool handles data aggregation, reconciliation and portfolio reporting while enabling the integration of public and private investments into one reporting system. Rick Higgins, WealthTouch's chief executive officer, says, "We have built a platform that allows us to aggregate data from approximately 1500 financial institutions," noting that the company brings the data feeds into its system and is able to produce reports by slicing and dicing information.
There are three fees involved in using the service: a $2,000 fee to set up the relationship, a $120 per-account fee for interfaces to take in data feeds and allow for downloads, and a service fee. Pricing for the service begins at $25 per month, per account.
Higgins says WealthTouch has three family-office clients using the tool, but would not disclose their names. Higgins describes the system as a "full-blown accounting system that is completely Web-based, designed to handle very complex financial situations." For example, a client might have 15 to 20 accounts that need to be rolled into one portfolio and analyzed however the client wants.
Trouble Trading ETFs?
TradingScreen believes it has a solution to your ETF dilemma. The London-based, institutional-trading system has added a fully automated exchange-traded funds trading feature to its system.
The new feature, which is embedded into the TradingScreen product suite, allows automatic market making or arbitrage for ETFs in a global multi-dealer, multi-exchange environment. "ETFs are a hot area now and they are so new that most asset managers are still trading them via phone," says Philippe Buhannic, TradingScreen president and chief executive officer, noting that phone-based trading leaves firms vulnerable to greater risk.
The firm came up with the idea for the tool through the suggestion of its clients. "Our large clients were faced with trading ETFs and they asked us to take our system and retool it to make market making and the creation of ETFs very easy," notes Buhannic.
He adds that TradingScreen facilitates the trading process from front to back as it connects to eight prime brokers as well as several custodians. In addition, he points out that one of the difficulties in trading in Europe is that you have to be a member of each exchange in order to trade the products on that exchange.
With TradingScreen, an asset manager can either trade directly through the exchange or trade through one of its 37 brokers in markets where it is not a member. Portfolio managers can trade cash equities, futures and ETFs - either directly or through brokers in every country.
The tool, which is based on Excel, allows asset managers to model ETFs and complex hedges in a "flexible way," according to Buhannic. The tool is connected to TradingScreen's core systems.