Dresdner Kleinwort Benson says it hopes that its online markets portal will help it become the world's leading player in foreign exchange trading on the Internet.

Since February, when the investment banking arm of Frankfurt-based Dresdner Bank introduced the portal to give clients direct access to global capital markets, 20% of its foreign exchange orders have come through the Internet. This is about 40,000 orders per day, said Matthias Leclerc, the company's global head of online markets. Dresdner Kleinwort Benson is ranked No. 20 worldwide in foreign exchange volume.

"We have acquired a substantial number of new customers," Mr. Leclerc said. "The Scandinavians were the first to pick it up."

The investment bank also is benefiting from increased trading volume, fixed spreads, and lower transaction costs on the portal, Mr. Leclerc said. It "proves our competence as an e-commerce player," he said. "I hope volume generated will grow due to a superior product."

The portal contains market-related information from various parts of the bank that can be tailored to the needs of institutional fund managers or corporate treasurers. Institutional clients and corporate and bank customers can gain access to trading products and services, as well as news, market data, research, and analysis.

The system's trading capabilities are being expanded every month. It runs on servers from Sun Microsystems Inc. and uses the Sun Connect architecture to handle European government bonds, foreign exchange, exchange-traded derivatives, and German and U.K. equities. It is to introduce money market applications this summer.

"The future is about small trading floors, humongous trading volume, and the use of the Internet for trading and selling," Mr. Leclerc said. The challenge is to improve work flow so much that no human intervention is needed, he said.

Dresdner's online markets portal offers information "at a high level of granularity and specificity," Mr. Leclerc said, and it can personalize the way information is presented.

The portal is an outgrowth of the bank's online markets division, which was created last fall to promote a consistent approach to electronic commerce and to enhance the proprietary content given to customers. "We wanted to bring the heartbeat of markets to customers' desktops," Mr. Leclerc said.

Dresdner Kleinwort Benson also is part of a group of six banks active in the European government bond market that is developing a company called Bondclick. When Bondclick is launched at yearend, it will let the banks' institutional clients get bond quotes and trade online.

Dresdner's investment bank also is taking an active part in technology ventures such as Siren, Tradepoint, e-crossnet, and brokertec.

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