Leaders in Trading editor’s choice awards – the nominees part 1

We take a closer look at this year's Leaders in Trading nominees.

Outstanding equities trading venue:

Bats Global Markets – It has been a busy year for Bats after it was acquired by CBOE in March for $3.4 billion, although its group CEO, Chris Concannon, reiterated the deal did not spell the end of the journey for the exchange operator. The exchange was one of the first off-the-mark to launch a large-in-scale block trading platform. Less than 10 months after the launch, the platform has executed over €10 billion and attracted more than 100 buy-side firms using the initiative to negotiate large blocks in European equities without fear of revealing intentions to the wider market.

London Stock Exchange – The fallout of the proposed merger with Deutsche Boerse earlier this year has not prevented the London Stock Exchange (LSE) servicing and preparing its clients for the looming MiFID II regulation. In fact, the exchange has seen many of its businesses thrive this year, with revenues across its market data and TRADEcho segments at all-time highs as firms opt for the LSE’s services.

Turquoise – Comprising of two discrete order books, the Turquoise integrated order book and Turquoise Plato, the venue offers more than 4,300 stocks across 19 European, US and emerging markets. Following the rebrand of Turquoise Block Discovery to become Turquoise Plato Block Discovery, its block trading venue has consistently broken weekly and daily trading volume records throughout the year. As well as this, Turquoise has worked hard to develop innovative functionalities for its services, including a mechanism allowing buy-side traders to trigger events advertising liquidity in SME stocks, and the addition of pre-trade transparent and MiFID II compliant auctions to its lit order book.

UBS MTF – UBS MTF has maintained its position as one of the top dark pool trading platforms in Europe. Throughout the year it has implemented a number of technical improvements to help its clients comply with MiFID II, including an update to its FIX interfaces for trading, and the introduction of a new mechanism to specify the desired CCP account to be used in processing executions arising from orders.

Outstanding fixed income trading venue

Bloomberg – Bloomberg maintains its position as one of the most used fixed income trading venues in both the US and Europe, according to research from Greenwich Associates. After achieving a number of milestones in 2016, Bloomberg has continued its success in 2017. Its partnership with MTS BondPro, via Bloomberg TSOX, has proven successful with buy-side traders.  It accounts for nearly 40% of government debt and 70% of investment grade deals in Europe. As well as including its swaps trading business onto its fixed income platform last year, it has also bolstered its deal reporting business in preparation for MiFID II.

Tradeweb – Providing new products and new trading capabilities has been central to Tradeweb’s strategy this year. Aside from being the first offshore trading venue to connect to China’s Bond Connect, it has launched an all-to-all corporate bond trading platform in the US and Europe. It has also signed up Citadel Securities as a market maker for electronic US Treasury trading, and was the first platform to facilitate electronic trading of inflation swaps. Its Dealerweb platform has captured around a fifth of all interdealer US repo trading, and it operates the largest dealer-to-client swap execution facility (SEF) in the US.

Liquidnet – Traded volume on Liquidnet’s fixed income platform reached a record $1.2 billion earlier this year. It has attributed its growth to increased membership – which now includes over 600 active traders – and services like targeted invitations and the portfolio manager workflow. After acquiring OTAS Technologies in a bid to enhance its Virtual High Touch service with the addition of artificial intelligence technology, Liquidnet has continued to be at the forefront of the fixed income trading community this year.

MarketAxess – Open Trading, MarketAxess’ corporate bond trading platform, has continued to be adopted globally with record trade volumes and integrated technology offering alternative liquidity and technology options. Having gained regulatory approval in September to act as a recognised market operator in Singapore, MarketAxess has sustained its rank as one of the most prominent firms in fixed income trading.

Outstanding derivatives trading venue:

Eurex – As Europe’s largest derivatives exchange, Eurex continues to build on its innovative expertise to deliver new products for investors to generate alpha. It has recently updated its trading technology to allow traders to comply with MiFID II transparency requirements, and has launched market-on-close futures to facilitate the migration from OTC instruments to on-exchange execution. It has also seen adoption of its new MiFID II regulatory market making (RMM) programme, and will launch an OTC price discovery service in the fourth quarter.

Euronext – A part of its ‘Agility for Growth’ strategy, pan-European exchange Euronext carried out a series of initiatives this year to be nominated for this category. Like Eurex, it has also updated its trading technology this year, with an upgrade to its customer gateways and UTP derivatives software. Meanwhile its average daily volume for derivatives trading has increased 13% year-on-year to over half a million contracts traded daily. Earlier this year it expanded its index futures product suite to US investors, granting direct access to dividend futures on two blue-chip European indices.

ICE Futures Europe – Expectations of a UK interest rate rise by the Bank of England in the coming months has recently proved a boost to London-based ICE Futures Europe. It has recently set a number of records in average daily volume for trading in its short-term sterling and euribor interest rate futures. The exchange also appointed Stuart Williams as its new president of ICE Futures Europe, following the retirement of David Peniket.

Borsa Italiana – The Italian derivatives exchange, owned by London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG), continues to make a name for itself in the equity derivatives scene. By June it had over 20 million derivatives contracts traded on its platform, with particular growth in Italian stock options. It has centred its focus on its FTSE MIB futures suite by extending trading hours to attract international investors.

For the full list of nominations for the Leaders in Trading awards night on 25 October click here.