DirectBooks live with euro and sterling investment grade deals

Dan Barnes

Sell-side consortium DirectBooks, is now live with Euro and Sterling Investment Grade bond deal announcements on its bond issuance platform. The platform launched in Q4 2020 with deal announcement functionality for US Dollar Investment Grade bond issuances globally, with a common set of structured deal data and document access for institutional investors.

European deals can be enabled for all twelve banks in the consortium – Bank of America, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Citi, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, Mizuho, Credit Suisse and RBC.
As part of its European expansion, DirectBooks also announced the appointment of Duncan Phillips as managing director and head of Europe. Phillips will be based in London and will lead the UK office, as well as the development of a cross-functional European team.

Phillips previously worked at Citi for 15 years, with debt syndicate roles in London, Tokyo, and Hong Kong. He later held executive roles as global head of capital markets at primary market platform Ipreo (now IHS Markit) and chief commercial officer at Nivaura, a London-based start-up focused on capital markets workflow automation.

“The addition of Euro and Sterling deal announcements to the platform is another critical step in the evolution of the DirectBooks offering,” said DirectBooks CEO, Rich Kerschner. “We are also excited to continue the growth of our company with the addition of Duncan to lead our UK office and European expansion.”

“I am delighted to be joining DirectBooks at this important point in the platform’s development,” Phillips. “I look forward to building the team and working with our buy-side and sell-side community to evolve the primary issuance workflow.”
DirectBooks is designed to electronify the primary issuance process for fixed income by streamlining communications workflows for underwriters and institutional investors.

The platform plans to eventually expand with the capability to optimise the communications of order and allocation information, as well as hedging instructions. High yield and emerging markets issuances are expected to be added to the platform later this year.

In The DESK’s Trading Intentions Survey this year, 31% of buy-side traders reported they planned to use DirectBooks with 3% using it already. The firm itself has declined to outline deal volumes or activity metrics. It has also declined to reveal buy-side user numbers to date although sources report the firms is happy with progress so far.

Electronification of the primary market space has been somewhat controversial, as buy-side firms have found several large banks unwilling to work with existing solutions, creating enormous pressure on buy-side trading desks in 2020 prior to the launch of DirectBooks, as they had to manually process record level of bond issuance, dealing with the non-standard data and processes that each bank delivers.

Although some system providers, including IHS Markit, have been vocal in their support for interoperability between new issue platforms, DirectBooks is currently known to be working on interoperability with order management system (OMS) providers but no dedicated bond issuance tools.

©Markets Media Europe, 2021