Bond Trading: Smaller BrokerDealers Displace Bulge Bracket Market-Makers

bulge bracket blog update profiles the emergence of specialist brokerdealers who are poised to displace the once dominant ‘bulge bracket’ aka “6-pack” firms in the world of making markets and providing liquidity across the bond marketplace.  As regulations and capital requirements upend the legacy role played by Wall Street’s biggest investment banks, technology advances coupled with modern day perspectives as to how to source actionable liquidity and secure best execution when trading bonds is providing an opportunity for smaller and savvy broker-dealers to play an important role. Coverage is courtesy of excerpt from feature story published by

Since 2008, there has been an increase in electronic trading of fixed income securities, along with a decrease in inventory held by larger dealers and banks.

“If we look at some of the subtle changes in market structure that have come about, we see non-traditional liquidity providers, or price makers, coming up within the marketplace,” Bill Vulpis, managing director at KCG BondPoint, told Markets Media. “By non-traditional, I mean companies other than banks and large sell-side firms, including smaller broker dealers who are reliant upon electronic platforms to make markets.”

According to a January 2015 study by Greenwich Associates, 80% of institutional investors report difficulties executing corporate bond trades of more than $15 million, reflecting decline in market liquidity caused by the pullback of fixed-income dealers in the wake of new and more stringent capital reserve requirements.

With dealer inventories shrinking, investors’ search for new liquidity providers is proving a boon to the fast-developing ranks of electronic trading platforms, according to Greenwich. All-to-all trading accounted for an estimated 6% of electronically executed U.S. trades in 2014.

To read the full article from Markets Media, click here.