Given that January is often a month of reflection, it is time to challenge what most of us hold true in Fixed Income eTrading.

Why?……….well, over the festive season I was thinking about the past 5-years and how this segment of the industry has developed. How many traders now wouldn’t know what to do without their TW, ALLQ, BBT, BV, RTFI etc, etc. BUT……I thought, have things really been radically changed. In the sense of sudden, dramatic and fantastically beneficial change- a “breakthrough idea” to use Harvard Business Review speak.

I’m talking about something that has revolutionised, not WHO you do business with (covered in AmazonBay), but HOW you do it.

When you really think about it, the workflow difference between calling 5 banks and using TradeWeb is not that different to using the phone. It is undoubtedly easier and more efficient, but from a purely workflow perspective you are still essentially asking the same people the same thing and getting back the same answers…..just via a better medium, in most cases. Indeed this has been the key success of eTrading; being able to replicate what was/is done on the phone but making it more efficient. So it is in no way a criticism.

So what are a few of the areas we can challenge in the industry and move, in some small way, towards this revolutionary step? I guess for starters how about:
– Banks make prices and Funds take prices
– Gilts market will never be truly electronic, it is an old gentleman’s club
– True STP is FIX reliant
– Algo trading isn’t for Fixed Income
– Hedge Funds can’t be serviced electronically

Please feel free to add others in the comments section!

Now I sadly haven’t come up with the “breakthrough idea” but I’ll keep asking questions of people smarter than I and hopefully they will, by some indirect result. It is something we all should try and get our people thinking about. That means sell side, buy side & ECN, sales, trading, settlements & IT. This means challenging popular opinion on matters such as the above. Only by participants grinding their axe will this happen, I still see too much acceptance of the status quo.

So as far as the participants are concerned, it is a case “Whatever you want, whatever you like!”….sorry, bad gag!

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