Investors Pass Dealers in Europe Bond Trading, MarketAxess Says

More bond trading is being done without banks in Europe, according to MarketAxess Holdings Inc., a fixed-income platform operator.

About 55 percent of transactions on the firm’s Open Trading bond platform are now between investors, Gareth Coltman, head of European product management at MarketAxess, said at a briefing in London on Tuesday. That’s up from 50 percent in the first quarter.

Asset managers are increasingly trading notes with one another and technology companies have stepped in to match buyers and sellers electronically. Dealers that for decades ruled corporate-debt trading are pulling back from market making and holding smaller inventories to meet client requests after regulation made it less profitable.

“We anticipate more and more investors taking on the role of price maker,” said Coltman. “We’re already seeing a significant change in investors’ behavior.”

Asset managers can take longer than banks to price enquiries and MarketAxess has made it easier for them by allowing time to prepare trades, he said.

Still, many investors rely on banks. Nine dealers, including Rabobank Groep and Millennium Europe Ltd., joined the European platform in the last 18 months, Coltman said. The platform has 90 dealers globally, he said.

MarketAxess last year increased the number of dealers that investors in Europe could request prices from to 40 from six, he said. That’s made it 10 percent more likely that they’ll execute a trade, according to Coltman.

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