WatersTechnology Asia Awards 2020: Best Trading Network—MarketAxess

MarketAxess wins the best trading network category in the inaugural WatersTechnology Asia Awards, thanks to its Open Trading electronic trading platform, designed specifically to cater to global fixed-income market participants. Operating for 20 years, MarketAxess’ aim has always been to bring greater efficiencies and pricing transparency to the increasingly fragmented fixed-income market. The New York-based firm has helped transform fixed-income trading through its electronic trading platform, bringing what was an antiquated market into the digital age.

Through the all-to-all Open Trading marketplace, MarketAxess has taken a leading role in accelerating the transition to electronic trading across the Asia-Pacific region. Initially unveiled in 2012, Open Trading allows users to trade anonymously with other investors and dealers from around the world.

Christophe Roupie, head of Europe and Asia at MarketAxess, describes what makes Open Trading unique: “Compared with the traditional investor-to-dealer trading model, Open Trading provides traders with a bigger pool of connections—investor to investor, dealer to dealer, investor to dealer, and dealer to investor,” he says. “This creates a global unrestricted marketplace that drives broader liquidity and lowers execution costs, with Open Trading saving both price takers and liquidity providers nearly $600 million in transaction costs in the first half of 2020 alone.”

Listening to its clients, MarketAxess strives to create solutions that cover their specific needs, especially in markets that have traditionally been poorly served by the third-party technology community. “Specifically in Asia, our clients’ biggest pain points are the need for access to increased liquidity pools, highly accurate and transparent pricing data, and an operationally resilient trading platform that can handle considerable trade volumes,” Roupie explains. “Without Open Trading and its ability to pool together a large and diverse group of market participants on both the investors’ and dealers’ side, it is highly likely there would have been significantly more risk and volatility within global and credit markets, especially in Asia.”

The relevance for today’s markets is clear: Over the last year, geopolitical tensions and economic crises have created unprecedented turmoil across financial markets, according to Roupie. “Covid-19 has compounded this further and led to market volatility not seen since the 2008 financial crisis,” he says. “When market conditions became extremely volatile toward the end of the first quarter of 2020, MarketAxess and Open Trading kept investors and dealers connected and able to source or provide liquidity when it was most needed.”

In March 2020, MarketAxess’ client services teams arranged remote access to the firm’s cloud-based technology for over 10,000 users in order to keep them connected with the market.

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