Could TradeWeb unravel from inside?
TradeWeb has proven itself to be the bellwether for institutional bond trading. But internal tensions are mounting as participating banks join competing foreign exchange platforms.
Jim Toffey takes a seat in the conference room of his 51st floor offices in the World Trade Center in downtown Manhattan. His composed manner is the result of increasingly broad recognition that he has helped build what is thus far the only successful multi-bank broker-to-client trading consortium. Back in the mid-1990s he and Lee Olesky, now Europe CEO of Brokertec, persuaded their employer, Credit Suisse First Boston, to allow them to set up an electronic platform to trade US government bonds.
Four years on, he holds success in his hands, and has done so by staying focused and by including several of the big Wall Street firms in his plans as equity owners and board members. By his own admission, there was also a bit of luck. His business now accounts for over 12% of volume of all US treasuries traded in the secondary market.
He's now expanding into agency bonds, and plans to get into municipal bonds and other liquid credits soon thereafter, including European government bonds. Few would doubt his success, and yet there are few who relish his position.
For Toffey's TradeWeb now faces its Wrst major challenges as a going concern.