280 CapMarkets, which operates an online bond trading platform for RIAs, is expanding. Beginning next week, its platform, BondNav, which currently provides access to muni bond pricing and trading, will expand into the corporate bond market, according to CEO Gurinder Ahluwalia. Pricing and trading will be available for investment grade and high yield bonds.
Eventually the platform will include government agency bonds, Treasuries and CDs, says CEO Ahluwalia. “We want to be an advisor’s fixed income partner,” he tells ThinkAdvisor. “We want to build relationships with advisors rather than just execute trades.”
To date, more than $6 billion worth of bond market transactions have been conducted on the 280CapMarkets bond trading platform, which services over 100 financial advisors working at about 80 firms, says Ahluwalia.
He explains that when an advisor gives 280 CapMarkets a request to buy bonds, that advisor is essentially sitting in the middle of an ecosystem that includes a customer desk with access to dealer pricing; an institutional sales desk, which sells bonds to large asset managers; and 280 CapMarkets own trading desk which uses the firm’s capital to buy and sell bonds. All three sources feed into a portal for advisors to get the best price for purchases or sales of bonds.
“An advisor gets access to institutional pricing and new offerings,” says Ahluwalia.
After a trade is completed, 280 CapMarkets provides the post-trade documentation to support best execution standards, trade settlements that feed into an advisor’s custodian accounts and transaction reporting via email that can be archived.
“I come from the advisory side and my co-founders are from the bond side,” says Ahluwalia, stressing that he knows what independent advisors need and want when buying and selling individual bonds. Ahluwalia is a former CEO of Genworth Wealth Management, renamed AssetMark, where he focused on advisor engagement, improved execution and product and service innovations for advisors.
The 280CapMarkets trading platform BondNav (the Nav is short for navigator) is for those advisors who buy and sell individual bonds on behalf of their clients in addition to or instead of bond ETFs or mutual funds.