So what is a Single-Dealer Platform?

Welcome to SerenDiPity – a blog that acts as an information exchange for news and ideas on Single-Dealer Platforms (SDPs). We hope that if you stumbled upon us by chance you will find this a fortunate resource (pun intended!) – and hopefully contribute to the ideas shared here.

You may have come across this blog while doing a search for the definition of single-dealer platform. In this post I’ll give you both a quick definition of the term as well as a link to download a white paper from Paul Caplin which explains the history, significance and future direction of single-dealer platforms.

Single-Dealer Platform: A Definition

Here’s my definition: A single-dealer platform is the infrastructure that supports an electronic, client-facing trading system commonly put in place by a large bank to give its buy-side customers and other end-users a user interface (GUI) and/or other access to participate in single or multi-asset trading. These GUIs are often referred to as “single-dealer portals”, or “single-bank portals” and they are used to trade directly online with the bank.

Things are changing: Rich Internet Applications (RIA)

The technology that is used to provide the user experience (UX) on the client desktop is currently undergoing a major change.

As Java applets have declined in use, three new technologies have come to the fore:

  • Ajax (a public standard, supported by all browser manufacturers)
  • Flex (created by Adobe, subsequently put out to the public domain)
  • Silverlight (proprietary to Microsoft, using a plugin in the browser)

The great merit of these RIAs is ease of onboarding and support of clients, which is a major consideration when the target market is large. They also make other content very easy to integrate, and allow a bank to add new content and functionality instantly at any time rather than having to wait for a deployed application upgrade.


Behind the GUI, single-dealer platforms need to provide highly scalable, low latency distribution technology and to serve as integration points for many different functional pieces. These include pricing, liquidity management, deal workflow, credit control, risk management, news, research, user administration, STP integration and other functions. In multi-asset implementations these are often different across each product set, so one of the challenges of building an SDP is integrating all of these systems and presenting them to the user in a consistent manner.

Want to know more?

I will be regularly posting articles and also collating news and opinion pieces on SDPs. In addition we will publish informative insights from thought leaders with experience building and delivering SDPs. Please get in touch if you’d like to contribute.

To learn more about the technical and business challenges of building a successfull single-dealer platform, download Caplin’s SDP white paper.

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