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MarketAxess [NASDAQ:MKTX]: The Progressive Electronic Trading Platform

CIO VendorNick Themelis, CIO
Active institutional investor firms are always on the lookout for, and rely heavily on the depth, accuracy, reliability, and efficiency of trading platforms. With constant regulatory changes, innovative liquidity management platforms are the need of the hour. In order to actively manage corporate bond holdings, investors and dealers demand flexible electronic trading options, advanced technology, and trading partners. “Open Trading™ is the solution,” begins Nick Themelis, CIO, MarketAxess [NASDAQ:MKTX]—a premier provider of a global corporate bond and Credit Default Swap (CDS) electronic trading platform. “MarketAxess Open Trading is an all-to-all institutional corporate bond and CDS marketplace.” The Open Trading protocols are integrated into MarketAxess’ well-established client-to-multi-dealer request-for-quote trading system, resulting in single-screen access for all market liquidity. From U.S. High-Grade Corporate Bond, Eurobond, and Emerging Market Trading to CDS, U.S. Agency Bond, and High Yield Bond Trading, Open Trading is available across a wide range of global fixed income products. MarketAxess offers a single platform that provides integrated dealer and investor liquidity, with two unique protocols to efficiently address different trading needs—Market Lists and Open Markets. MarketAxess’ electronic trading platform empowers institutional investors and broker-dealers in the U.S., Europe, Latin America, and Asia to efficiently trade corporate bonds and other types of fixed-income securities.

The biggest gain for the clients, according to the CIO, is “efficiency.” Clients can source liquidity from over 100 dealers and over 1,000 institutional firms. The system provides the much-needed transparency via pre-trade pricing that gives traders insights for informed trading decision-making. “When it comes to the corporate bond market, protection against information leakage is imperative. Our platform delivers anonymity,” assures Themelis. Another major benefit clients receive is the ‘global access’ provided by trade routing managed by MarketAxess. Further, in order to improve operational efficiencies, MarketAxess offers Post-Trade solutions.

MarketAxess Open Trading is an all-to-all institutional corporate bond and CDS marketplace


First in the post-trade line-up is Straight Through Processing (STP), which allows clients to create, negotiate, and execute orders with complete front to back office system integration. The other post-trade solution offered by MarketAxess is the industry’s first intra-day European market data feed—Axess all™ powered by Trax®.

Trax traces its roots back to February 2013, when MarketAxess completed its acquisition of Xtrakter, a leading provider of regulatory transaction reporting, financial market data, and trade matching services to the European securities markets. Subsequently in May 2014, Xtrakter was rebranded to Trax, consolidating the firm’s suite of data and post-trade solutions under the reinvigorated brand. Together, MarketAxess and Trax are uniquely placed to help their clients prepare for the broad-reaching changes taking place in the European fixed income markets due to incoming regulations. To help dealers and investors manage fixed income trading and investment risk, MarketAxess and Trax can offer investors a full suite of valuable tools. These tools are delivered through a combination of extensive market and reference data, a broad suite of protocols for trade execution, and robust post-trade services.

A growing network is always susceptible to investment risks and demands the formation of security and risk management teams with intuitive oversight capabilities. Keeping the inherent risks in mind, MarketAxess has formed a dedicated Cyber Security Team and Risk Sub Committee to counter threats. “We make it a point to continually assess and implement industry best practices to counter phishing and hacking,” asserts Themelis.

For the road ahead, MarketAxess is launching Municipal Bonds and Leveraged Loans, both of which will release in 2016. “Through Municipal Bonds, we expect to have more than 250 institutional clients and 60 dealers connected by launch date while the Leveraged Loans initiative is a natural extension of our high-yield trading capabilities,” concludes Themelis.