Corporate Bond Trading Evolves (NY Times)

Banks see profitable business of trading corporate bonds slipping away amid new regulations, more automation.

Trading of corporate bonds is evolving in response to new regulations and electronic trading technology, according to the New York Times. The changes likely mean big banks will lose much of their control of what had been a profitable line of business for them. Citigroup analyst Keith Horowitz estimates that the top 12 global banks have seen their revenue from fixed-income trading plunge from a peak of $190 billion in 2009 to $105 billion in 2011.

Among the factors driving the change are new rules that require banks to hold more capital against their bond inventories. Electronic trading is growing, with BlackRock launching a platform called Aladdin Trading Network that allows customers to connect directly, without a bank intermediary, to buy and sell corporate bonds.

 

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