The banks winning from a broken bond market

Peter Lee
Published on:

Fear is spreading over the financial system’s vulnerability to increased volatility stemming from a broken and illiquid credit bond market. All participants agree the secondary trading is undergoing fundamental change as the big banks that used to make markets withdraw their capital, but no one has a vision for how it will alter. A new breed of banks, though, is making headway against the headwinds.

The old order of bulge bracket banks that for so long dominated the top ranks of the European bond markets, both as lead managers in the primary markets and as traders in the secondary markets, is starting to shift. Into a marketplace where the top positions once seemed set in stone, held tight by banks with large balance sheets, robust principal risk-taking capability, global sales and trading networks built over decades and closely nurtured relationships with all the big bond investors, relative newcomers are fast making headway.

One leading buy-side source tells Euromoney: "If you investigate which banks are doing, say, the most volume on Tradeweb or Bloomberg in European credit, you’d expect it always to be Deutsche, Barclays, BNP Paribas and HSBC or Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citi, Goldman and JPMorgan. But suddenly you’ve seen a player like Mizuho come from nowhere a couple of years ago...