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Wall Streeters Taking Muni Bonds Online
NEW YORK — A group of Wall Street heavy hitters said on Wednesday they have joined to create an online industry wide municipal bond marketplace, MuniGroup.com LLC which they expect to transform the $1.5 billion industry.

The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. BondDesk.com LLC, Susquehanna Partners GP, Paine Webber Group Inc. and Bear Stearns & Co. Inc. said they expected the exchange to begin operations in the second quarter.

MuniGroup.com will offer a centralized and fully executable trading environment for both traditional and electronic brokerages to buy and sell municipal bonds.

It will serve the primary and secondary markets and bring together high-quality live and executable inventory, the companies said. The combination of municipal bond buyers and sellers in one marketplace will allow for a less fragmented, price-transparent and more efficient market, they added.

"Trading in municipal bonds has long been characterized by inefficiencies and the lack of a centralized market," Connie Duckworth, chief executive of MuniGroup.com, said in a statement.

"By bringing the highly fragmented municipal bond market to one trading environment, MuniGroup.com will be able to revolutionize the bond market much in the same way online trading has changed both the face and the future of the stock market."

Goldman Sachs, PaineWebber, Susquehanna and Bear Stearns will provide investors a broad collection of bond offerings.

MuniGroup.com has an exclusive license with BondDesk.com. which will provide the technology foundation for the trades, the companies said.

MuniGroup.com's electronic Inventory Trading System will enable participating firms to display and match bond offerings in the secondary market. Its E-Syndicate System will enable broker-dealers to access new issues, and the Bid/Offer Auction will provide an automated bidding system of municipal bond postings, the companies said.

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