ICAP (IAP.L), the world's leading interdealer broker and provider of post trade risk and information services, announces that it launched i-Swap, its electronic interest rate derivative platform in the US for trading of US Dollar (USD) interest rate swaps (IRS) on Friday, 15 February.
Barclays, B of A Merrill Lynch, Citi, Deutsche Bank and J.P. Morgan are supporting i-Swap by providing streaming prices. An additional 30 banking and investing institutions have access to trading on the platform. Initial levels of participation on the platform were encouraging and are expected to increase over the course of the coming weeks and months.
i-Swap is a trading platform for interest rate derivatives that enables customers to choose optimal execution methods, either through a broker or directly into the platform. i-Swap is open to banks that are clearing members of a recognised clearing house for interest rate derivatives. Non-clearing member banks will continue to have access via ICAP's brokers. ICAP launched its award-winning trading platform, i-Swap for Euro IRS, in September 2010 and since then it has experienced increasing use by market participants and seen trading activity grow. Today around a third of all ICAP's 1 - 30 year Euro IRS trades are executed electronically through the platform.
The i-Swap USD platform provides new levels of transparency and a full audit trail. Once the final rules associated with running a Swap Execution Facility (SEF) arising from the Dodd-Frank Act are published by the CFTC, i-Swap USD intends to register as a SEF and operate in compliance with the rules and regulations.
Michael Spencer, Group Chief Executive of ICAP, said: "I'm delighted that we have launched i-Swap in the U.S. It marks a significant milestone in the development of the wholesale financial markets. Trading in interest rate swaps is moving increasingly electronic. i-Swap will meet new regulatory requirements and facilitate the transition from a predominately voice-brokered environment to a cost-efficient and transparent electronic trading venue for customers. We're confident that i-Swap in US dollars will replicate the success it has had in Europe with Euro swaps as the market adopts to this new way of trading interest rate swaps."
Gary Cameron, Managing Director, Head of USD IRS trading at J.P. Morgan, said: "We're pleased to be a part of the launch of the i-Swap platform in the US. The markets continue to migrate towards electronic trading and the platform will help satisfy our execution, reporting and transparency requirements".
Nat Tyce, Head of Rates Trading at Barclays, said: "As a longstanding proponent of electronic trading and market evolution, Barclays was a principal supporter of ICAP's i-Swap launch in Europe and we are excited to be supporting its timely launch in the US. As the market evolves and adapts to the new regulatory landscape, i-Swap will become a significant and key part of market infrastructure. Market participants will benefit from utilising i-Swap in the US, through reduced operational risk, lower costs, and greater execution options".
Thomas Hartnett, Head of Rates and IG Credit, North America for Deutsche Bank, said: "We welcome today's launch of a system which offers us the benefits of both electronic and voice trading. This initiative will also make a substantial contribution towards innovating the market structure and streamlining the operational elements of OTC derivatives trading".