ICAP introduces electronic trading platform for securities lending

ICAP plc, the world's largest inter-dealer broker, has launched i-Sec, a new electronic trading platform for securities lending, which provides screen-based access to the securities lending markets.

Initially, equities from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and Japan will be available for lending and borrowing on the i-Sec platform, with a view to expanding this product offering. Four banks are participating in the introduction of the platform.

'The strong growth in securities lending and continued pressure on spreads in the market mean that our customers are looking to increase securities lending efficiency and reduce cost,'said Roy Zimmerhansl, Head of Electronic Securities Lending, ICAP. 'Electronic trading on i-Sec enables market participants to improve their distribution and leverage their relationships by bringing together multiple sources of supply and demand.

'The i-Sec platform has been designed by traders for traders, and offers functionalities that are not currently available in the market. With our existing client network and strong presence in electronic broking, ICAP is well positioned to add real value to the securities lending market.'

Based on ICAP's proven BrokerTec platform, i-Sec enables traders active in securities finance to borrow or lend equities via an electronic platform that combines the leading order matching system with a high-speed, high capacity and fully-redundant communications network.

i-Sec offers traders full anonymity until execution and price transparency with full price levels and market depth display. Unique straight-through-processing solutions enable traders to process trades more efficiently, reducing the potential for costly errors and minimising risk. Trading electronically on i-Sec will allow users to manage a wider range of pre-existing counterparty relationships more efficiently, enhancing both distribution and access to securities. This increased diversity of counterparties will further add to the liquidity in the market.

The global equity securities lending market is estimated to represent outstanding transactions in excess of USD3.5 trillion and is growing rapidly. Analysts have estimated that the European and Japanese markets account for as much as 60 per cent of the equity securities lending market.

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