Thursday 11th February 2016
NEWS TICKER: Following a recent Morningstar Analyst Ratings meeting, the firm has downgraded the Morningstar Analyst Rating for the L&G All Stocks Index Linked Gilt Index fund to Bronze. The fund previously held a Silver rating. Jose Garcia Zarate, senior fund analyst at Morningstar says, “We continue to have a positive view on the fund’s price, its tracking accuracy, and the parent company’s commitment to the provision of passive investing solutions. However, we have concluded that the heavily long-dated nature of the underlying market exposes investors to a volatile return profile over a market cycle. In particular, a rules-based passive fund tracking this market is particularly vulnerable to the downside relative to category peers that have the discretion to tweak duration. As such, we feel a Bronze rating reflects more accurately our conviction in this fund’s ability to outperform its category peers over a full market cycle.” - The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) says it has rescheduled the Technology Advisory Committee (TAC) public meeting to Tuesday, February 23rd, from 9:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., at CFTC’s Washington, DC headquarters. The meeting was originally scheduled for January 26, but was cancelled because Federal Government offices in the Washington Metropolitan Area were closed due to inclement weather. The TAC will discuss: the CFTC’s proposed Regulation Automated Trading (Reg AT); swap data standardisation and harmonization; and blockchain and the potential application of distributed ledger technology to the derivatives market. The CFTC says members of the public who wish to submit written statements in connection with the meeting should submit them by Monday, February 22nd - Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has called a ministerial meeting this morning to discuss the latest key domestic developments including the open issues whose implementation is required for the completion of the 1st programme review as well as farmers’ escalating protests against the planned overhaul of the income tax and the social security pension system, says Eurobank in Athens. Minister of Finance Euclid Tsakalotos warned earlier this week that the programme review should conclude by the end of February noting that Greece will be “in trouble” if it carries on into May-June - India’s Power, coal and renewable energy minister Piyush Goyal yesterday offered a $1trn prize to Australian power and energy firms to come and invest in the country’s power sector. Goyal's pitch comes as the government is pegging economic growth at 7.3% for Q4 2015, marking a slight drop on previous quarters but still outpacing China. Goyal says India's power sector is at an inflection point as the Modi government is focusing on structural reforms with an integrated outlook for the energy sector – Tomorrow (February 11th), the Latvian parliament (Saeima) will hold a vote of confidence on the new composition of the Cabinet of Ministers set up by incoming premier Māris Kučinskis. The first ceremonial sitting of the new government will be held tomorrow at 15.00 in the Green Hall of the Cabinet of Ministers. Ināra Mūrniece, acting president and speaker of the Saeima will also participate in the sitting - freemarketFX, the currency exchange, has appointed services veteran Rich Ricci as Chairman. Formerly CEO of Barclays Corporate and Investment Banking - JP Morgan Asset Management has appointed Paul Farrell as head of UK Institutional Clients. Based in London, Farrell will join JPMAM in April and will report to Patrick Thomson, head of International Institutional Clients. Farrell will be responsible for leading the sales team that manages and builds client relationships with Institutional Pension Funds in the UK & Ireland. He will have responsibility for direct client relationship management in the defined benefit as well as business development in the defined contribution marketplace and will work closely with our consultant client team led by Karen Roberton. Farrell joins most recently from Dimensional Fund Advisors, where he served as Head of UK Institutional Clients and was responsible for new business development, client service and consultant relations. Before that he was head of UK Strategic Clients at BlackRock - Vistra Group, a provider of fund admin services, has bought UK-based business expansion services provider Nortons Group, the accounting and advisory service. The Nortons team, led by Andrew Norton and Pete Doyle, is joining the Vistra Group to boost their existing range of services and benefit from Vistra’s global reach. Martin Crawford, CEO of Vistra Group, says: “Offering support services to companies moving abroad is a core business for Vistra and of growing importance. Nortons has the expertise, the experienced staff, and the network to add significant value to this service line. We are very proud to welcome Andrew Norton, Pete Doyle, and their colleagues to our international team and look forward to expanding our global reach with their experience and leadership". The acquisition of Nortons is expected to complete by the end of February and will take the combined headcount of the Vistra Group, inclusive of the soon to be merged Orangefield Group, to over 2,200 staff in 39 countries - Asian markets had another tough day. Japan's Nikkei Stock Average fell 2.3% to its lowest closing level since late 2014, and reaffirming a trend across the last few months the yen remained near its strongest level against the dollar in over a year. Despite the Bank of Japan's decision last month to introduce negative interest rates, a policy that tends to weaken the local currency, the yen has strengthened in recent sessions to levels not seen since 2014. The Japanese 10-year treasury yield traded shortly in negative territory, and touched -0.08%, before stabilising above the neutral mark. The dollar was last up 0.1% against the yen at ¥ 115.00. Australia's S&P ASX 200 fell 1.2%, the downward drift being led by energy stocks. The Australian Dollar consolidated yesterday’s gains and is currently testing the next resistance, which lies at $0.71. AUD/USD up 0.21 in local trading. Other Asian currencies did well today against the dollar. The South Korean won rose 0.74%, the Taiwanese dollar edged up 0.60%, while the Indian rupiah climbed 1.05%. That uptick was not reflected in equity markets. The Topix index slid 3.02%. In Singapore the STI slipped 2.14%, while New Zealand equities were down 0.85% respectively. China's markets are still closed for the Lunar New Year holidays – The story today is all about Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen’s testimony to the US Congress. Analysts say that the market is pricing in no further rate increases in the near future and given the volatility in the markets and the general air of panic right now among investors, it would be a catastrophic move for the Fed to raise interest rates even a quantum in coming months. Truth is that no matter how well Yellen paints the US economy is it a story of two halves: yes, job numbers are rising, but there looks to be a lot of slack in the overall economy and this is contributing to a gradual weakening of the US dollar (but not against the euro). In fact, Europe is making the US look good; hence the wild swings in investor sentiment. Still, bank stocks look to remain vulnerable for the remainder of the quarter. This week's economic calendar is light; hence the focus on the Fed. The other bit of advanced market news is that expectations are rising for a rate cut by Norges Bank. Emerging market currencies are broadly trading higher this morning. The South African rand rose 0.85% against the US dollar, with USD/ZAR back below the 16.0 mark at around 15.9350. The Russian ruble also took advantage of this respite and gained 0.65% versus the greenback, which helped USD/RUB to edge lower to 79.10. In terms of data, watch out for industrial and manufacturing production figures from France, the UK and Italy and CPI data from Denmark and Norway - In commodities, Brent crude oil was last up 2.4% at $31.05 a barrel in thin trade on speculation about possible production cuts, but remains down nearly 9% for the week and roughly 19% for the year. Peter Rosenstreich, head of market strategy at Swissquote Bank explains, "Crude oil has been able to rebound off the 12-year low ($27.78) after falling sharply by nearly 8% on Tuesday. The positive catalyst was the news that Iran has indicated that they would be willing to work with Saudi Arabia on production limits. However, markets remain sceptical of this or any coordinated production cuts. There seems to be no relief on selling pressure in sight as the US government released reports indicating that demand will remain soft by lower demand growth forecasts. In addition, the Paris based International Energy Agency (IEA) has warned that the supply glut will continue through 2016 as production cuts have been made at a slower pace than forecasted.” In other market news this morning, spot gold in London was down 0.2% at $1188.05 an ounce, while three-month copper futures on the London Metal Exchange fell 0.7% to $4,463 a ton.

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Corporate credit embraces electronic trading

Wednesday, 25 July 2012
Corporate credit embraces electronic trading Recent years have witnessed unprecedented growth in the electronic trading of European credit instruments. Designed to improve transparency and minimise counterparty risk in the derivatives markets, the direction of new regulation is an important factor behind e-trading of European credit. The rules that will govern trade execution, clearing and reporting have yet to be finalised, but it is clear that reform is likely to push trading further towards electronic markets, where there is enhanced price transparency, workflow efficiency and regulatory oversight. Rupert Warmington, director of European credit markets at Tradeweb, discusses why he expects this trend will continue. http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

Recent years have witnessed unprecedented growth in the electronic trading of European credit instruments. Designed to improve transparency and minimise counterparty risk in the derivatives markets, the direction of new regulation is an important factor behind e-trading of European credit. The rules that will govern trade execution, clearing and reporting have yet to be finalised, but it is clear that reform is likely to push trading further towards electronic markets, where there is enhanced price transparency, workflow efficiency and regulatory oversight. Rupert Warmington, director of European credit markets at Tradeweb, discusses why he expects this trend will continue.

To improve portfolio yields in a climate where other fixed income instruments are showing historically low yields, many investors have turned to European corporate bond markets in recent years. Meanwhile, corporate issuers in Europe are increasingly looking to access capital markets as a result of balance sheet constraints in the bank loan market, which they have traditionally relied upon for a large part of their financing needs. Upcoming regulatory changes and a desire for greater operational ­efficiencies within asset managers have combined to form an ongoing and significant increase in the electronic trading of European credit instruments.

The shift towards e-trading in European credit bonds corresponds with widespread change in the investment patterns and workflows of “real-money” institutions. European dealers are increasingly looking to electronic platforms to service clients’ flow business in vanilla products—precisely where there is greatest liquidity. Growth in electronic trading of investors’ flow business has boosted e-trading volumes overall—estimated now to represent well over 35% of the European credit market, up from less than 20% just a couple of years ago.



Access to liquidity lies at the heart of successful e-trading platforms. There has been a sizeable increase in the number of market makers providing prices in European credit over electronic marketplaces such as Tradeweb. Sell-side participants’ desire to win volume through e-platforms has led to significant improvements in the quality of electronic liquidity compared to that offered by phone. This is especially evident in recent months, and has not necessarily reflected conditions in the market overall. There is indeed an increasing buy-side perception that a growing proportion of overall sell-side liquidity is now being offered electronically as opposed to voice trading.

Yet, for institutional investors, operational efficiency is almost as important as liquidity. Throughout the entire trading cycle of price discovery, ­execution and post-trade processing, electronic trading platforms provide ready access to trade information, analytics, and price transparency. And both buy- and sell-side institutions can fully integrate electronic trading platforms into their existing workflow systems.

This automation must not come at the cost of flexibility. Buy-side traders can tailor tickets to their precise requirements on electronic platforms and request prices from specific dealers (the “request-for-quote” or RFQ model). This auction-like process gives buy-side traders fast and trans­parent price discovery, simultaneously putting dealers into competition. Increased competition optimises pricing efficiency and helps the buy-side demonstrate best execution.

More sophisticated electronic trading platforms are also flexible enough to allow buy-side investors to execute multiple trades concurrently from a single list of orders across multiple asset classes. The time saved allows asset managers to invest resources more efficiently to boost overall productivity and performance.

The need for flexibility in trading these instruments has become increasingly important as both regulatory and macroeconomic factors coalesce, reducing overall market liquidity. This has led various market participants recently to explore new price discovery and execution models which, if successful, could increasingly challenge the way business is done and even the current market structure.

However, the common thread running through the fundamental changes underway in the marketplace is the greater use of electronic trading. Whilst the main driver stimulating the willingness to look at new ways to execute trades may be regulatory and macroeconomic change, the need for more efficient and cost-effective trade execution is also at the core of these moves. In other words, the evolution happening today is underpinned by some of the same drivers that have been central toward the increased use of electronic trading across fixed income markets for more than ten years.

It is clear that the fixed income markets are becoming an increasingly dynamic and exciting place in which to operate, especially in the burgeoning electronic marketplace for European credit. This presents us with challenges, but also many opportunities to contri­bute to the accelerating evolution of the market. As electronic trading continues to meet the needs of financial institutions seeking better liquidity, increased efficiency and improved performance, marketplaces like Tradeweb will continue to partner with the buy- and sell-side to drive innovation in the new regulatory and economic environment.

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