UK interdealer broker Icap is pushing into the electronic securities lending market with the launch of a new screen dealing system, i-Sec.
Icap says four banks are participating in the introduction of the platform, which will initially provide for the borrowing and lending of stock from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and Japan.
The i-Sec system is based on BrokerTec technology. It offers traders full anonymity until execution and price transparency with full price levels and market depth display.
Roy Zimmerhansl, head of electronic securities lending, Icap, says: "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.
"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."
Zimmerhansl says the i-Sec platform has been designed by traders for traders and offers functionalities that are not currently available in the market.
In December last year, Euronext acquired a 51% stake in European securities lending platform SecFinex - which claims some 50 financial institutions as clients - in anticipation of a move to more automated trading as the market matures.
Icap said last month that its electronic broking units boosted full year profits and that it was looking to build its e-trading business, both organically and with acquisitions.
News of the i-Sec platform coincides with the global roll out of an electronic FX forwards system to complement Icap's EBS spot trading system. The i-Forwards system provides e-trading for a range of short-dated and longer-dated currency forwards.