through banks, is giving its clients electronic access to a vast inventory of bonds. The Tampa, Fla., company is making the new service available through an arrangement with Fixed Income Securities, San Diego. Invest's move is part of a trend by investment marketing firms to expand their services in a bid to retain clients. As banks gain more experience with investment sales, they have become demanding shoppers. Invest's chairman, Merlin Gackle, said he believes none of his rivals in the investment marketing field now offer a service approaching Fixed Income Securities' data base of 10,000 individual bonds. He said one big plus of the arrangement is that Invest's 241 bank clients will be able to pull up daily pricing quotes and detailed information about particular bonds at the point of sale. "The key here is you have access to everything on your PC, so you can speed up the process dramatically," Mr. Gackle said. Invest previously offered its bank clients a more limited range of services through Everen Securities, Milwaukee, Mr. Gackle said. Everen was recently spun off from Invest's parent company, Kemper Corp., Long Grove, Ill. David Bernstein, a principal at Furash & Co., a Washington consulting firm, said Invest's deal may be attractive to community banks because most can't afford their own bond trading desks. However, he added, larger banks, which have their own trading desks, want control over them to make profits and to make sure they are adhering to compliance laws. Fixed Income Securities has agreements with many major bond underwriters such as Citicorp, Merrill Lynch, and Everen, which supply the company with information about their warehouse of bonds. For Fixed Income, teaming with Invest is a "quick way to get into an awful lot of banks," said Jack Simkin, a vice president and an owner of Fixed Income. Mr. Simkin said the company is interested in the bank market because bank brokers are showing a greater interest in selling individual bonds. The pairing makes sense, he said, because Fixed Income has had only limited success in signing up bank brokerage clients on its own. The company, founded in 1981, trades bonds for independent financial planning firms, insurance companies, and broker-dealers.
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