03.23.2017
By Rob Daly

Trumid to Buy Electronifie

The landscape for electronic all-to-all corporate bond trading continues to shrink — slowly — as venue operator Trumid plans to acquire rival Electronifie.

“The boards and management of both companies have approved the deal, and we are now in a standard regulatory process that will conclude early in the second quarter, maybe in the month of April,” Mike Sobel, president of Trumid, told Markets Media.

Sebol declined to provide the financial details of the acquisition.

However, he expects that the transaction will increase Trumid’s client footprint by a sixth, to 350 institutions on the platform from its previous 300 institutions.

Mike Sobel, Trumid

“We have a foothold,” Sobel said. “But expanding that foothold and helping to clear up the landscape as well as the choices clients have and the choice of protocols that they have is a very healthy part of the corporate bond market structure.”

Electronifie CEO Amar Kuchinad will join Trumid’s senior management team along with other Electronifie senior management as part of the transaction, according to Sobel.

Trumid will also incorporate Electronifie’s sales, operations, technology, and data science into its organization.

“This is a specific part of the market, corporate bond electronic sales. There are not that many people who do it well,” noted Sobel. “To add people who are as passionate about it as we are is a big win for us.”

From a platform integration perspective, Trumid does not plan to have the grass grow under its feet. “When the deal closes, the combined platform will be available immediately to all of our clients,” he said. “We both deploy through OpenFin, which makes the integration of the platforms and migrations to a combined liquidity pool completely seamless for our clients.”

Trumid’s eventual goal is to support one liquidity pool and one set of trading protocols. “There will be only one surviving ATS, and that will be the Trumid ATS,” said Sobel.

During the migration period, Electronifie clients will still be able to access the platform’s liquidity, but it will be via Trumid’s trading protocols and interface.

Each ATS has a clearing relationship with State Street Global Markets, but Electronifie also has relationships with other third-party clearing firms.

It remains to be seen what the future of those additional clearing relationships will be. “We will make sure that all of our clients’ intermediary arrangements and needs will be met,” he said. “No client will be asked to settle trades that is not consistent with what they know and prefer.”

Trumid’s acquisition of Electronifie is the second recent acquisition of an electronic all-to-all credit-trading platform by another ATS operator. OpenBondX announced plans to acquire US Treasury-trading platform operator Direct Match in an all-stock deal in December 2016.

There remain several dozen corporate bond trading platforms, many launched amid a scramble to provide liquidity to the buy side in what has been a rapidly evolving market. Observers expect consolidation to substantially winnow the field over the next several years.

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