Bank Group's Data Service Signs Morgan as First Client

EJV Partners, the joint venture formed by Citicorp and five investment banks, has signed up its first customer for an electronic investment-information service.

J.P. Morgan & Co. installed the necessary software to receive the service, called UniVu, last week. The service, which provides market information and analysis tools for fixed-income securities, will support Morgan's bond trading business.

J.P. Morgan is the first company that is not a partner in EJV to try the software.

Citicorp's partners in EJV are First Boston Corp., Goldman Sachs & Co., Morgan Stanley & Co., Salomon Brothers, and Lehman Brothers.

Prerelease Testing

J.P. Morgan and the consortium partners will test UniVu before a final product is released. Official release is planned for late fall.

The J.P. Morgan deal marks an important step for EJV Partners, which is unique as a joint effort of investment and commercial banks.

As bankers ponder the formation of similar ventures for back-office operations such as check processing and credit-card processing, the success of EJV in jointly developing computer systems may provide a model.

By testing the software, J.P. Morgan gets to influence the final product as well as accustom bond traders to the system.

Customers Can Customize

The UniVu system runs off workstations, powerful desktop computers. The commercial and investment banks that purchase the service are expected to customize it, adding their own analytical tools and information from a variety of news sources.

"We have made a major commitment to the fixed-income securities business," said Richard S. Davis, managing director of J.P. Morgan Securities.

In addition to providing analysis tools and fixed-income information, UniVu can serve as an electronic communication medium for traders to share proprietary prices or research reports with customers, and for customers to send portfolio information.

"This is a new way to do business," said Gerald Mintz, senior sales and marketing executive at New York-based EJV. "It is important to the sell side to communicate with customers. Under UniVu, customers can get access to information that is difficult to get now."

Mr. Mintz said the sharing of information via desktop computers is like an electronic sales call.

EJV has a development group to create its software tools, called analytics, which buyers of UniVu can use. The venture built UniVu's analytics in part with proprietary data and mathematical formulas that the partners use in analyzing bonds. Each partner, however, kept some techniques private.

EJV was established in April 1990 to develop the system and market it to nonmember financial institutions. Through a subsidiary, the partnership also operates an interdealer trading system.

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