UBS expands bond e-trading platform in Asia

Amid retrenchment by other bond e-trading platform operators, UBS' move will enable clients to use Pin-FI from the start of the Asian day. Two traders have been relocated to Singapore.
UBS expands bond e-trading platform in Asia

UBS is expanding coverage of its bond electronic-trading platform, Pin-FI, by lengthening its service hours to the full Asian trading day and transferring two traders to Singapore.

Starting next month, Asian clients will be able to source firm prices for thousands of bonds and sell securities from the start of the trading day in Singapore, says Gavin Ottery, Asia-Pacific head of rates and credit for e-commerce sales. Until now, Asian clients have had to wait until London opened to trade bonds on Pin-FI.

Milan Mueller and Samantha Gould, both members of the Pin-FI team, will move to Singapore from Zurich and London, respectively, in April.

The Pin-FI business facilitates trading of investment-grade and high-yield bonds in dollar, euro, sterling, Australian dollar, Norwegian krone and Swedish krona, says Mueller. “We plan to offer Singapore and other Asian credits, but no timeline has yet been set.”

In March last year, AsianInvestor reported growing interest from bond dealers to launch a single-dealer platform to broaden distribution of bonds. That was a time when regulations such as Basel III and the US’s Volcker rule have led global bond dealers to reduce bond inventory. This has in turn prompted them to explore electronic trading as a distribution channel.

The expansion of Pin-FI in Asia follows news that the bank has decided to consolidate its various trading platforms by using Murex and Ion Trading platforms. It is understood that Pin-FI operations is not affected by that decision.

UBS’s move comes amid moves by other providers to scale back their platforms.

BlackRock last year decided to run Aladdin Trading Network, its buy-side-to-buy-side bond platform, through multi-dealer venue operator MarketAxess rather than on a stand-alone basis. The platform had reportedly failed to gain sufficient traction. BlackRock declined to comment.

Some buy-side firms have raised concerns related to revealing information about their positions to a counterparty that also trades bonds.

However, an e-trading platform served by multiple dealers is also not entirely foolproof. Buy-side portfolio managers say there is also a risk that sending out a request-for-quote on an illiquid bond to several dealers could also turn the price against them.

A feature story on bond e-trading will appear in the April issue of AsianInvestor.


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