Latin America Bond Awards 2024: MarketAxess — Best Secondary Market Trading Platform for Latin American Bonds
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Latin America Bond Awards 2024: MarketAxess — Best Secondary Market Trading Platform for Latin American Bonds

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Long a major player in hard currency emerging market trading, MarketAxess continues to expand its unrivalled platform in local markets across Latin America. The firm’s focus on innovation and its unique understanding of client needs is generating record growth across products and trading protocols — making MarketAxess a clear winner of Best Secondary Market Trading Platform for Latin American Bonds.

Despite industry headwinds, local LatAm markets on the MarketAxess platform were buzzing with activity, and the user base followed suit with record growth and large trades. “Clients and dealers’ ability and willingness to trade large blocks in local markets — including some of the biggest like Mexico and Brazil — has been a key driver for us,” says Michael Baptista, Head of EM Latin America Dealer Sales at MarketAxess.

In the past year, block trading in large sizes of $25m+ rose significantly, and Request-for-Market (RFM), the preferred block trading protocol, hit record levels on the firm’s platform becoming a catalyst for growth. MarketAxess has been a dominant force in hard currency trading for decades, with the largest chunk of market share.. Its market share of local currency trading is also gaining ground each quarter.

“We’re working hard to support client adoption and bring innovative new solutions to onshore clients,” says Maria E. Calderon, Head of Latin America Sales at MarketAxess. A deep understanding of local market structure gives MarketAxess crucial insights into how best to guide their evolution and build out its local currency bond markets. “These markets are changing fast,” says Calderon. “They're going from zero electronic trading to trading blocks overnight, and MarketAxess is in the perfect position to help our clients navigate the nuances of e-trading and build confidence in the data and efficiency that comes with it.”

Calderon points to the firm’s culture of innovation as a key factor in its success. A global team of over 800 employees spread across the US, Europe and Asia-Pacific ensures MarketAxess is innovating in every single region. She says that they are hard at work in LatAm markets including Mexico, Chile and Peru, and adding more capabilities in the near future. “We'll continue to deliver for our clients, by paying attention to different market structures and listening to their needs, globally,” she says.

A culture of innovation

As MarketAxess increasingly brings its trading expertise and technological capabilities to Latin America, the whole region stands to benefit. Last year, the firm saw record trading volume of over $300bn in LatAm hard and local currency. Key innovations in the region included new protocols in markets like Brazil, where MarketAxess was the first firm to complete a Casada trade via RFQ. With the addition of Casada to its platform, MarketAxess now offers the complete range of Brazilian sovereign debt products, including LFTs, LTNs, NTN-Fs and NTN-Bs.

The firm’s all-to-all trading marketplace — Open Trading — is a key differentiator in a competitive space. Currently, Open Trading is the only all-to-all offering available for LatAm credit and accounts for over 40% of hard currency emerging market volumes with plans to expand into other local markets in the future.

MarketAxess has already had a stellar start to this year. Liquidity surged back into hard currency bonds and the firm’s platform and protocols were in full force with record engagement of over 1,100 active global and local clients trading LatAm bonds. The first quarter of 2024 brought record trading volumes across the emerging market operations, of which LatAm accounts for over 40%. “Our hard currency corporate business was up, as was our hard currency sovereign and our local markets businesses,” says Baptista. There was record growth in the number of international participants on the system along with an increased number of onshore LatAm participants.

“Our EM product is so successful because we’ve been able to build a truly global business,” he says. The firm offers trading across 28 different markets in local currency — a number they say will only increase — and every single market in hard currency. “MarketAxess is a one-stop-shop for customers trading EM bonds,” he says. “The gains we’ve had in LatAm market share are a testament to that.”

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Contact information:
Michael Baptista,
Maria Calderon,

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