Albert Cobetto - one of the best known professionals in the Asian debt markets - has left Prudential Asia to run BondsInAsia as CEO. His new company is the start-up founded by Bridge eMarkets, Citibank, Deutsche Bank and HSBC which aims to provide local bond market trading throughout Asia.

Cobetto's role as CEO of BondsInAsia will be to successfully manage the roll out of the business plan - and ambitious scheme to build trading and distribution platforms in all the domestic debt markets in Asia.

"I am extremely excited about taking the helm at BondsInAsia and making it the leading fixed income platform in Asia," says Cobetto. "I am confident that the unique approach adopted by BondsInAsia is exactly what the fixed income markets need."

Cobetto decided to join BondsInAsia only a few weeks ago and today, Monday October 9th is his first day in the office. His somewhat unique biography encompassing the buy side at Prudential as well as sell side investment banking experience at Salomon Brothers and Lehman Brothers made him the ideal candidate for the post. "He was top of our wish list," affirms Ken Yeadon, head of e-commerce, Asia Pacific for HSBC's treasury and capital markets division.

In particular the challenge of meeting the requirements presented by all the variously involved parties will be crucial to the success of BondsInAsia. Investors, brokers,dealers, regulators and issuers will all need to be consulted and their needs addressed if the system is to achieve the comprehensive coverage which it claims.

Cobetto's long held belief in the need for deep and liquid local currency debt markets should also help him in pushing the BondsInAsia franchise out to each local market. The company is aiming to offer a locally tailored franchise in each Asian market which will address all the local needs. "The franchise model allows us to address all the idiosyncrasies that arise in each market," says Eddie Tan, financial markets head for Citigroup in Singapore.

The four founding members report that they have already had very positive feedback from local regulators in Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong and Malaysia and are on target to go live with the system in March 2001. They hope to launch with coverage of bonds in Hong Kong and Singapore dollars as well as G3 currencies.

Although Cobetto's appointment shows that BondsInAsia will definitely be a standalone entity - away from the control of the four founding members - the group denies that there are any IPO plans. "We are doing this more for the overall good of the market than to go for an IPO," says Yeadon.