MarketAxess is making moves to support clients focused on sustainable investing with green bond trading functionality and an incentive scheme, after the firm saw green bond trading activity surge 108% in 2019.
The fixed income trading platform has introduced new trading capabilities to encourage and help clients interact more efficiently with green bonds. The functionality includes tools to find green bond issuers and dealers via the MarketAxess Smart Dealer Select mechanism, and to identify green bonds that have similar characteristics to non-green bonds.
“As an active green bond investor, ease in identifying securities and sourcing qualifying issues is helpful in managing our growing sustainability focused funds and adds further support to this nascent but growing asset class,” commented Ashley Schulten, head of responsible investing for global fixed income at BlackRock, on the launch.
Alongside the green bond trading functionality, MarketAxess has teamed up with the charity One Tree Planted to introduce a ‘Trading for Trees’ incentive scheme. The initiative will see five trees planted for every $1 million of green bond trading volume that is executed on the firm’s platform. Dealers and clients will gain credit for planting trees in the Amazon, Australia and other regions. This year, MarketAxess expects to plant more than 10,000 trees.
“We expect this comprehensive market ecosystem with dealers, brokers, and market participants will create a deep and prevailing market,” Jason Lenzo, global head of trading at Russell Investments, added. “As market participants and stewards of our environment, we also believe it’s critical to support such sustainability initiatives.”
The launch follows a significant 108% year-on-year increase in global green bond trading activity on MarketAxess’ trading platform to more than $19 billion in 2019. The growth occurred alongside a boom in green bond issuance, and ongoing industry focus on sustainable bond investing. MarketAxess said that it is the largest green bond marketplace, currently holding 15% share of trading.
“We recognise that our company can do even more to support environmentally responsible investing through the launch of our ‘Trading for Trees’ incentive program and new green bond trading functionality,” said Chris Concannon, COO at MarketAxess. “These initiatives reflect the values and commitment of MarketAxess and its employees worldwide by combining support for our clients’ sustainable investment activities with direct action to benefit the environment.”
Earlier this week, MarketAxess confirmed that it has integrated AI and machine learning technology across its algorithmic pricing engine for corporate bonds. Through a partnership with H2O.ai, MarketAxess integrated the technology to the Composite+ platform, which provides price discovery in more than 24,000 corporate bonds.