27 January 2021

Reaping the benefits of competition

Andy Ross

CEO, CurveGlobal Markets

My first days back at work after the break were spent phoning colleagues and customers to ask them about their outlook for 2021. Despite the “challenges”, I did hear a lot of talk of “positives” and “opportunities”.

I start the new year with an overwhelming tsunami of enthusiasm – for the year ahead, CurveGlobal Markets, London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG), and for our collective ability to change the world for the better.

CurveGlobal Markets is a listed futures exchange, the derivatives segment of London Stock Exchange plc. We’re providing choice, competition and innovation. Our zero fees*, with no surcharges for block or basis trades, and no charge for market data, are great examples of the value of competition. We also allow you to connect to member liquidity at LCH, where swap clear regularly clears $3 trillion notional each day, while providing cross-margining to offset your positions in listed products.

It is notoriously difficult for exchanges to gain traction and market share at the best of times. So why am I so optimistic? Well, on our record day at the end of last year, we were nearly 40% of the market in three-month sterling!** And let’s be honest, it’s not easy persuading people who are working from home to look at another screen or indeed to try new things, especially with the COVID lockdown.

Illustrations – Left: Monthly Traded Lots, Right: Open Interest

So, why have CurveGlobal Markets volumes grown month over month? Well, it appears that if you provide good or better pricing on the exchange electronic order book, offer free fees and clearing, and allow people to trade blocks off the exchange at fractional prices, they really like it.

But above all else, what has been so exciting for me is that as we review our sales pipeline and recent wins, it’s the ease of getting those clients trading. A process that a couple of years ago felt Herculean in effort now feels like falling off a log. Getting a client live often involved a new trading system or new clearing broker, execution broker, docs or pipes. It’s just not like that anymore; the infrastructure is “turnkey” for the asset managers, hedge funds, and prop firms alike. From seeing a price a trader likes or from being offered a price by the broker, to being execution-ready is taking less than a week – including risk sign-offs.

There are a number of macro reasons to be optimistic in 2021, from speedy RNA COVID-19 vaccine development, PCR testing ability changing the way we manage medical diagnosis, to computer processing power of new chips and protein unrolling. And CurveGlobal Market’s growing SONIA volumes and best-in-market pricing, and the rollout of ‘cash settled’ GILT futures later in H1 are just some of the reasons why you should join us and trade at CurveGlobal Markets.

*free trading in place until 30 September 2021 and free clearing in place until 31 March 2021 to 1 October 2021 and 1 April 2021
**Data source: Bloomberg, notional basis