Category Archives: Trading

Gloves Come Off at SEFCON V

The era of good feelings definitely is over for the over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives market judging by the tone of the conversations at yesterday’s SEFCON V.

“It’s to be expected,” said  a beaming Chris Ferreri, chairman of the Wholesale Brokers’ Association Americas (WBAA) and who hosted the event. “Last year, we all were trying to accomplish the same thing. But with ‘made available to trade’ in place, we are all competitors now. Isn’t great?”

The zingers flew wild and free during the conference’s first panel on what the industry has learned over the first year of swap execution facility (SEF) trading.

Representatives from Bloomberg, Credit Suisse, the DTCC’s Data Repository, Thomson Reuters,  tpSEF and UBS shared some rather candid thoughts and information during the verbal free for all.

Although the UBS offers a SEF aggregation service, it currently does not connect to Bloomberg SEF or tpSEF.

And when it comes to differentiating the SEFs that have sizable liquidity, it is all about the bells and whistles that they offer, according to Bloomberg’s Nathan Jenner and Thomson Reuters’ Jodi Burns.

However, the SEF operators might want to cool their technology pitch to swap dealers and institutional investors, suggested PIMCO’s Ric Okun, who spoke on a later SEF-technology panel.

The rest of the day’s discussions addressed the future of cleared foreign-exchange (FX) non-deliverable forwards (NDFs) and the benefits and shortcomings of central limit order book (CLOB) versus request for quote (RFQ) execution.

When an audience member asked Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman Timothy Massad whether the regulator developed a sense when NDFs would be available to trade, Massad stated that the CFTC “has not taken a view on it yet.”

Whether it will be before 2017, when the EU’s rules should go into effect, no one knows.

At least the one panel, which consisted of representatives from BGC Derivatives Markets, Bloomberg, Squire Patton Boggs and London-headquartered Wholesale Broker Market Association (WMBA), came to a consensus that NDFs probably will clear like US dollars and euros. They bandied about an 80-20 ratio, but could not agree on which currency represented which percentage.

The most heated conversations, unsurprisingly, related to CLOB and RFQ execution models. It definitely is the Mac versus PC and open-sourced software versus licensed software debate for the industry.

Supporters of RFQ won the day in terms of their loudness and liquidity, but consider the membership of the WBMAA.

CLOB supporters were optimistic that liquidity on their systems would pick up when interest rate volatility and its related volume returns to the market.

They also believed that as swaps dealers widen their RFQ spreads due to regulatory capital restraints, that it may drive investors to the CLOB platforms.

It is not clear if there will be a SEFCON VI, but the OTC industry still has a lot to do in terms of data consistency and quality, according to the DTCC.

A standardized instrument symbology across all SEFs would be a good place to start, suggested KCG’s Isaac Chang.

 

 

Electronic Trading Makes Frontier Markets More Attractive

The global frontier markets are mature enough to give the emerging markets a run for their money, according to Aite Group’s Danielle Tierney and Gabriel Wang.

The industry analyst firm recently published a research note, Frontier Markets: Emerging World: Exploring the New Frontier,  in which the authors examine the macroeconomic and fundamentals of 65 frontier markets and found reasonable valuations, low volatility and low correlation between developed and emerging markets.

Usually I am not interested in the straight economic research, but the authors tossed in chart showing that roughly a third of the frontier markets had deployed Nasdaq OMX’s X-stream multi-asset trading platform since 2008.

I’m sure other exchange technology providers like Deutsche Bourse, London Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange had similar wins over the same period, but since I’m not paid for writing this blog let us just take it as a given.

That is about time I started to notice that a rash of press release announcing the various contact wins. It came after assigning one of my favorite stories about the Iraq Stock Exchange’s paper-based trading and had a T+30 settlement cycle (circa 2006) and the post-Regulation NMS exchange consolidation.

As these markets continue to invest in electronic trading, the more efficient they should become.

However, I doubt that it will become much easier for foreign investors to trade directly in the markets due to the standard local market regulations and currency control issues.

Omega Securities Mints New CEO

Sean Debotte has been named president and CEO of Canadian equities and fixed-income alternative trading system (ATS) operator Omega Securities, corporate officials announced today.

Debotte first joined Omega in 2011 as director of business development. He replaces Brian Crew, who departed in October 2012- the same month that Omega began opening its planned Lynx ATS to industry testing.

Officials expect that the new platform will go live on February 3, but are still waiting for the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) to sign off on the market’s Dynamic Pricing Model that determines a maker/taker rebate for each security based on its previous month’s trading volume.

The new ATS will use the same order entry and market data protocols as the Omega ATS and will not charge market data, subscription or connectivity fees.

The only other difference, say officials, is that Lynx will use broker attribution as a default setting.

Kevinonthestreet: FX Futures Volume Set to Rise

It’s only a matter of time before more investors move away from foreign-exchange (FX) swaps to FX futures, according to the latest research from Kevin McPartland, head of market structure and technology advisory service at analyst firm Greenwich and friend of the blog.

He attributes the coming migration due FX swap’s higher regulatory and margin costs, even though regulators exempted them from many swap requirements, and the lack of need by financial users for custom FX swap products compared to their corporate counterparts.

Check out his blog for more opinions and analysis on the OTC derivatives marketplace.

 

 

BTFDtv Offers Online Channel for Trader Education

It’s an early Saturday afternoon before the first full week of January, which means escaping family conversations is sitting watching reruns until the your programs start up again in a week or so.

You might want to take this time to check out BTFDtv, a new online video network for traders by traders.

Don’t expect a highly polished production value like from CNBC or Fox Business and the online network is the first to admit it on its homepage: “BTFDtv has no producers, writers, editors or on air rules.”

It’s more like a Skype session than a television program, but its backers are betting viewers are more interested in the content than its delivery.

Oh, the initials? I am told that it stands for Buy the Friendly Dip. This is a family friendly blog after all.