ABN and UBS get on Asiabondportal.com

Two more banks join Asiabondportal.com as online trading of Asian bonds gets a step closer.

ABN Amro and UBS Warburg have become the latest banks to invest in Asiabondportal - one of the leading fixed income trading platforms in Asia. The strategy that Asiabondportal has been following is to get leading fixed income banks to invest in the company at an equity level and then to get them to start trading bonds on the system.

ABN Amro and UBS Warburg join JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank and Daiwa SBCM as banks invested in the online company. Other investors comprise the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation and Income Partners Group.

With the addition of these two new investors, Asiabondportal has got closer to achieving a critical mass of participants necessary for its mid-October launch of full trading through its system. At the moment the portal provides pricing, news, research and discussion fora on all aspects of the Asian fixed income market.

There are presently 50 institutions taking part in a pilot trading programme which is testing the trading system to make sure it will be glitch-free come the October launch of real trading. The site is particularly focused on US dollar denominated bonds issued by Asian governments and corporations, although the site is hoping to extend its capabilities into local currency issues from Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea and Japan.

"We are definitely reaching critical mass with the addition of these two new strategic partners," said Tom Holland, chief operating officer of Asiabondportal.com. "However we still probably need one or two more dealers to tip the balance firmly in our favour."

 Asiabondportal's main rival is a site called Bondsinasia.com which is a joint venture between HSBC, Citibank, Deutsche Bank and Bridge Information Systems. This site concentrates more on allowing investors to trade local currency issues.