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EU government bond trading: MTS approves non-banks on govvie platform

MTS will probably unveil the mechanics behind the new trading structure for its European government bond trading platform before the year-end. A brief statement last month put to rest months of speculation on whether the MTS Supervisory Board would allow non-banking participants to trade on the platform, which up to now has been the preserve of primary dealers. The verdict was positive but surprised many as the decision has been mired in controversy for some time since it was first mooted over a year ago. In fact, such was the level of discord among bankers that few believed the platform would be able to approve a radical move and still retain its market position.

This is primarily because primary dealers feared being picked off by the mooted new participants, who would not be under the same obligations to quote on a wide range of sovereign bonds. Although MTS has not officially outlined how the new system will work, it is clear that dealers have been informed that an order-driven system will likely be used where non-banks participate, which would eliminate their cause of concern. But at present there are still many unknowns, ranging from which on-the-run bonds and benchmarks will be used to how the new participants will be chosen.

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