London Stock Ex

The London Stock Exchange has launched a new electronic order book for retail bonds, temporarily basing it on its outgoing Microsoft .Net-based TradElect platform.

The new bond market will stay on TradElect until at least the end of the year, when the LSE’s Linux-based platform, called MillenniumIT, goes live.

Forty nine gilts and ten corporate bonds will initially be available for trading on the new market, including securities issued by Tesco, BT, National Grid, GlaxoSmithKline, Morgan Stanley, GE Capital, Enterprise Inns and a bond from the Royal Bank of Scotland. Investors can see prices on-screen, and trade in increments above £1 for gilts and £1,000 for corporate bonds, the LSE said.

The TradElect platform in use for its final year was built by Accenture, and runs on Microsoft .Net and SQL Server 2000 systems, HP ProLiant servers and within a Cisco network architecture. The MillenniumIT platform that will take over next year runs on Linux and Unix environments and uses an Oracle database.

The LSE has been investing heavily in TradElect to keep it competitive during its final year of operation. But the platform has had a difficult history with several high profile outages that have caused it great embarrassment. It is also understood to be significantly slower than specialist rivals such as Chi-X.

In spite of TradElect shortly being withdrawn, in November the LSE booked costs of £20 million on the platform, as it attempted to write it off its books and worked on upgrades to keep it competitive over its final year of operation.

The LSE last month said the MillenniumIT platform would give it “high performance” trading, as well as an “agile, efficient, in-house IT development capability”, it said. And the increased level of money behind the operation, following its purchase by the LSE, would give it the “financial backing it needs” to grow sales of its software development and integration services to other exchanges.