BondUnderwriter wants retail municipal bond investors to have a more efficient way to learn about upcoming negotiated deals from their issuers.
The financial vendor designed its new centralized Web portal to consolidate publicly available information on new deals in one place.
The technology arms retail investors with customized search and alert features, bond information, and calculators for new negotiated issues that fit their investment strategies at no charge. Issuers, in turn, can reach out and target particular investors with new deals.
Mary "Mimi" Henderson, a 30-year municipal bond industry veteran, founded the Palo Alto, Calif.-based firm in 2008. Previously, Henderson, also the firm's chief executive, was president and managing director of public finance for Henderson Capital Partners LLC, a West Coast municipal underwriting firm.
"Issuers are struggling with how to reach all interested bond investors," she said by email. "They have to continue to keep adding managers and selling group members to assure as much retail participation as possible. We are offering a broker-dealer neutral, user-friendly site for all issuers to publicly announce upcoming bond sales."
The portal features an interactive map of the United States that sorts municipal information by state, issuer and particular investment benchmarks. Retail investors can sign up for an account to receive alerts that monitor changes to the available facts and figures.
There is a live ticker that scrolls muni news and interest rates and a calculator that estimates taxable equivalent yields. Investors can also gain access to public financial information on more than 40,000 state and local governments.
But BondUnderwriter does not interrupt or alter any part of the current underwriting process. "We only serve as a conduit," Henderson said. "The only slight adjustment is in the timing of availability of the information — we strive to provide it earlier and in a user-friendly format so that individual investors can make better-informed investment decisions."
The website's growth so far has been primarily from online searches and is averaging 3,000 unique visitors a month, Henderson said. Registered users currently hail from 25 states. BondUnderwriter is another Web-based technology designed to help retail investors.
In March, Munigo LLC launched a Web-based service that helps mom-and-pop investors find muni bonds.