Merrill Lynch is able to send corporate bond market indices and prices directly to its clients' desktop within Microsoft Outlook that are automatically filed into folders, merged and updated as new emails arrive. As a result, buy-side users always have the latest market view at their fingertips. This data can also be linked directly to Excel so new emails automatically update desktop spreadsheets.
"Quality client service means being able to offer the best prices and information on an exclusive, real-time basis in a way that is easily accessible," says Stuart Taylor, Head of European Debt Markets eCommerce Development, Merrill Lynch. "We saw that our clients always have Outlook open on the desktop but we also saw how many emails they receive in a day. We wanted to find a way of sending important data directly into this existing desktop environment while also helping the recipient to manage it and make their job easier."
Merrill Lynch is using the Clovis system as a way of managing important client relationships and of effectively communicating information about its products on a one-to-one basis. The system is a vehicle for expanding business in existing and new markets, particularly in niche markets where there are currently no multi-bank hubs for publishing prices. The bank has started with corporate bonds, but plans to introduce corporate bond repos, stock loans and other less established products. It also hopes that other banks will adopt the technology to improve the benefits to the buy-side.
"You cannot set up a point-to-point network across a huge number of buyers and sellers for anywhere near the cost you can do it with Clovis," Stefano Blotto, Global Head of Debt E-commerce at Merrill Lynch. "Even the simplest hub in terms of technology costs millions of dollars to its members every year. And as more banks sign up to the service, it will become a more compelling proposition for the buy-side client, at no extra cost."
Clovis for Outlook is designed specifically to be simple to install on both sides and addresses the speed, security and reliability that financial institutions require for their communications. Rikki Tahta, CEO at Clovis, says: "Direct customised data feeds used to take Merrill Lynch up to three months per client due to the complexities of connecting the IT at both ends. Now we have helped them to be in a position where they can move from concept to delivery within one week."
Clovis for Outlook was voted Best New Development in 2003 by Euromoney Magazine and will be showcased at SIA Technology Management Conference on 8-10 June 2004 in New York.
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