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November 11, 2008

Jones-E Aims to Add Interest

By James Ramage

JonesTrading wants to spice up the conversation between its sales traders and clients. The agency block trading firm created a portal called Jones-E-its first electronic tool-to link customers with its order flow.

JonesTrading uses the tool to communicate in a chat-like function directly with clients, and vice versa, as well as to discover liquidity, said Brian Pears, who heads Jones-E.

"We send clients communications that can lead to more color than we put out through third-party mechanisms," he said. "But likewise, clients will come to us with their most difficult pieces of merchandise to find a natural contra side."

Jones-E was built for clients who trade less frequently, have concentrated positions and want to filter what they see, Pears said. Through Jones-E, the firm can send customers its indications, and customers can pick out what they want to see while keeping private their own information until it's time to talk to a trader.

Orders sent out through the Jones-E portal aren't actionable and do not interact with other clients' orders directly or electronically. But they do start the kinds of conversations with clients that can lead to block crosses.

"It's an indication and negotiation platform that has human beings behind it," Pears said, "as opposed to something electronic or auto-execution-focused."

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