This is where our judges have a little fun. In the last four years, this category has been awarded to a dark pool with a speed bump, an alternatives house client portal, a new caching project at an agency broker, and a field programmable gate array (FPGA) installation at a major bank. At face value, these have little in common. But digging deeper, they’ve each represented the best of the industry’s zeitgeist in a given year, and often come from corners of the market that don’t show up elsewhere among the AFTAs’ other categories.
Electronifie, this year’s victor, fits that description well: its focus is corporates electronification, a long-heralded but problematic niche, ripe for solutions that finally seemed to blossom in 2015. The alternative trading system (ATS) is also anonymous, all-to-all, and focused on blocks rather than odd lots.
Like past cutting-edge winners, the trading venue—led by US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse alum Amar Kuchinad—isn’t pursuing low-hanging fruit.
At Waters, we’ve heard the concern voiced by buy-side firms over and over that the problem with any new venue for corporates is information leakage. “How do I know my order is safe?” they ask, and that’s a fair question in a space where liquidity for large-size trades is thinner than elsewhere, and market routs can spring up seemingly overnight. At the same time, providers need to create a system that is smooth and accessible, not clunky.
The startup received further support in recent months when two top industry veterans—former SEC chairman Troy Parades and well-known entrepreneur Max Kahmi—joined as board members, highlighting its proud independence from the banks and other large backers. With 81 firms using Electronifie today, the ATS is set to lead a growing cadre of new electronic entrants and pricing providers in the corporates market, just as further interest-rate hikes could send it for a serious spin.
With around 81 firms using Electronifie today, the ATS is set to lead a growing cadre of new electronic entrants and pricing providers in the corporates market, just as further interest-rate hikes could send it for a serious spin.
Dan and Anthony analyze four big deals from the past month and look back on data spend in 2016.Subscribe to Weekly Wrap emails