BofE study finds mandatory swaps trading on SEFs increases liquidity and lowers costs!


Some interesting findings from a paper from the Bank of England, which looked at the impact of mandatory trading on swap execution facilities (SEF), for interest rate swaps (IRS) as required under Dodd Frank Act.

The paper looked at transactional data from the USD and EUR segments of the plain vanilla IRS market. The findings showed that as a result of SEF trading:

  • Activity increases
  • Liquidity improves across the swap market
  • Improvement being largest for USD mandated contracts which are most affected by the mandate
  • The reduction in execution costs is economically significant
  • Execution costs in USD mandated contracts, drop for market end-users alone, by $3 million–$4 million daily relative to EUR mandated contracts and in total by about $7 million–$13 million daily
  • Inter-dealer activity drops concurrently with the improvement in liquidity suggesting that execution costs may have fallen because dealer intermediation chains became shorter

Overall, the results suggest that:

“The improvements in transparency brought about by the Dodd-Frank trading mandate have substantially improved interest rate swap market liquidity.

Finally, the report finds that the Dodd-Frank mandate caused the activity of the EUR segment of the market to geographically fragment. However, this does not appear to have compromised liquidity.

 

Full report here

Reuters announce FX Options vols increased 166% in 2015 (seems far higher than official BofE survey data suggests)


A Reuters press release on FX Options caught my eye today. The announcement states that:

Thomson Reuters FX dealer-to-client venue saw a surge in options trading volumes of 166 percent in 2015 compared with the previous year. In particular the fourth quarter of 2015 saw record-high monthly, weekly and daily volumes with over 36 global and local active options price-makers and more than 225 active options price-takers now on Thomson Reuters FX platform.

Thomson Reuters FX Trading provides both relationship trading (bank-to-client) and bi-lateral trading (interbank) for vanilla and exotic FX options. In recent months the company has introduced electronic FX options callouts to streamline how banks can access options liquidity in the interbank market. By providing one single point of access to options liquidity via electronic callouts or via Thomson Reuters FXall dealer-to-client request-for-quote service, FX Trading helps market participants to efficiently manage their trading risk.

According to Phil Weisberg, Global Head of FX at Reuters: Continue reading

The continual rise of non-bank market-makers.


I have covered the rise of ‘non-bank’ or ‘alternative’ market-makers a few times recently, notably here, here and here.

Looking at how, armed with market leading technology, talented etrading techies from sell-side firms and teams of razor-sharp quants, these firms are now providing deep consistent liquidity to the market in a capacity previously the preserve of the top-tier ‘flow’ monster’ banks.

The perception of non-bank market makers has traditionally been Continue reading

Interesting Celent report on future of Spot FX trading technology & platforms


Just finished reviewing an interesting Celent report by Brad Bailey, on evolving spot FX market structure and technology trends in light of changes in global regulation, a blurring of traditional liquidity pools and the ongoing competitive landscape.

Brad touches on a number of the themes we have covered here over the year, but it’s always good to have someone else’s perspective on them.

The themes covered being: Continue reading

Right-sizing in FICC – more cuts probably on the way


Last week, Morgan Stanley announced another wave of Fixed Income, Currencies and Commodities (FICC) redundancies. Some 1,200 due to leave the bank, of which around 500 (I have seen this equated to nearly 25%) coming from front-office FICC sales and trading positions, and many being at MD and above level.

In their Q3, 2015 figures released in Oct, they made mention of the underperformance in FICC:

  • Institutional Securities net revenues excluding DVA were $3.5 billion
  • continued strength in Equity sales and trading
  • leadership in Investment Banking with notable strength in M&A
  • underperformance in Fixed Income & Commodities sales and trading
  • FICC sales and trading net revenues of $583m down from $997m in Q3, 2014 primarily reflecting difficult market conditions for our credit and securitized products businesses

Indeed, looking at 2014 full year results below, we can see that FICC contributions to overall revenues have Continue reading

US regulators fine Barclays $150m for abuse of ‘last look’ (fascinating reading)


The NY Department of Financial Services (NYDFS), has handed Barclays an additional $150m penalty and ordered the bank to terminate an employee for what it called: ‘Automated, Electronic Foreign Exchange Trading Misconduct’

According to the NYDFS:

Barclays Used “Last Look” System to Automatically Reject Client Orders that Would Be Unprofitable Because of Subsequent Price Swings during Milliseconds-long Latency (“Hold”) Periods.

The additional fine brings the overall Barclays Foreign Exchange NYDFS Penalty to $635 Million.

That clearly explains why last month Barclays released ‘last look’ guidelines on their BARX website. In previous posts, I have argued that the practice of last look, in effect provides banks with ‘an option on the price’ that gives them an asymmetric advantage over their clients. The press release actually makes fascinating reading, and for that reason I have reproduced most of it below (the bold underline is from the original press release, and not my emphasis).

According to Anthony J. Albanese, Acting Superintendent of Financial Services” at NYDFS, in addition to the fines, Barclays would also: Continue reading

ICAP results, and strategy for Electronic Markets and Post Trade Services


ICAP today released first half results, confirmed the sale of the Global Broking Business (IGBB) to Tullett Prebon, and as part of their investor presentation, provided more details on the NewCo that will comprise Electronic Broking and PostTrade Services group.

In terms of result, group revenue fell 4% to £595m, although after stripping out ICBB, would show 4% rise, whilst revenues at TriOptima the post trade division rose 35%.

ICAP reported they had invested Continue reading

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