By Rob Daly

MTS Eyes High-Touch Trading

Although electronic trading continues to make inroads into corporate bond trading, electronic bond-trading platform operator MTS Markets International has invested in its offerings for phone-based clients.

“We’ve always had a facilitation desk,but we’ve been investing more into it,” said Mark Monahan, CEO of MTS Markets International. “It does much more than resolving trade issues. This team gives market color and truly acts in a hybrid manner.”

MTS has added additional headcount to the desk to help clients who prefer to trade via the telephone but want MTS to enter their orders electronically.

Mark Monahan, MTS Markets International

Mark Monahan, MTS Markets International

“They are a bridge between traditional phone trading and pure electronic brokerage,” he said. “Many customers love having the extra attention, especially on their larger trades.”

The desk may handle telephone-based requests; it seldom executes a voice trade itself, according to Monahan, who estimates that 999 out of 1,000 trades are done electronically.

The platform operator also has seen a trading uptick from firms using its API. Monahan attributes the increased volume coming from platform aggregators instead of high-frequency traders and believes that market aggregation in the corporate bond market only will continue to grow.

MTS also in the midst of rolling out trading of USD-denominated corporate bonds to the European markets, Monahan added. The alternative trading system already offers such trading in the UK and Switzerland.

Similarly, MTS has rolled out trading in non-USD-denominated corporate bonds to the US market earlier this year.

“We want to do more corporate bond trading in the UK and Switzerland, but it is important to us to do more Non-USD trading in the US,” said Monahan

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