Both E*Trade and Zions Direct were showing an offer on a bond with a minimum-purchase of five bonds. Both of them were showing an order-book with singles offered at two points higher, the same book that IB was showing. However, just now, I was filled on a limit-order at IB for a single, but at the lower price of a min-5 purchase. So the numbers look like this. To have executed through ET or ZD would have cost a commish of either $10.00 or $10.95, respectively, whereas the commish at IB was $5. Plus, I got the bond two points lower. So, executing through IB saved me two and a half points. The bond-game is nothing if not a game of basis-points, in this case, 250 of them in my favor. On bonds with long maturities, 250 bps might not be worth worrying about. But on bonds with shorter maturities, your all-in entry-price matters hugely. IB is a terrible place to do your searching, because of their clunky search-engine. But it’s a good place to execute.
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