Electronic bond dealing coming of age as core platforms emerge

Electronic bond dealing coming of age as core platforms emerge

A core group of electronic trading systems is emerging in the fixed income markets as weaker platforms continue to exit the business says the Bond Market Association in its annual survey of online dealing systems.

The BMA survey of electronic transaction systems for fixed-income securities found 77 systems currently operating in the US and Europe versus 81 in 2002.

"The landscape of electronic trading platforms continues to mature as online execution of fixed-income transactions has become virtually commonplace," says Michael Decker, senior vice president at the Association. "This past year, platform vendors helped to fuel the growth of electronic trading by adding or enhancing features and services on their trading systems, and as a result, we are seeing a core group of systems come to the forefront."

Of the 77 systems currently operating, 46 are based principally in the US and 31 in Europe. The trend toward platforms supporting trading in both the US and Europe continued in 2003.

The BMA volunteers no clues as to the names of the leading platforms, but says the market leaders have encouraged the adoption of electronic trading by adding or enhancing features and services on their trading systems such as connectivity for automated trade processing; pre-trade services such as research, analytics and calculation software; and services tailored to syndicated underwriting of new issues.

Broader industry initiatives designed to enhance the electronic fixed-income marketplace also saw significant progress in 2003, in particular the release of the FIX 4.4 messaging protocol. In addition, says the BMA, the industry has made significant progress on initiatives such as the development of a common message hub, the development of a "market data definition language," and the development of standards related to operational aspects of prime brokerage services.

According to the report, it is likely that recent trends in electronic fixed-income trading will continue in 2004, with consolidation among platforms continuing and smaller players exiting the space.

Full report: E-commerce in the fixed income markets

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