ICMA identifies 58 solutions for electronic trading in fixed income markets


27 July 2023 ICMA has updated its Electronic Trading Directory following its latest review of electronic trading platforms, order and execution management systems (OMS/EMS) and bulletin boards in fixed income markets.

Key observations:

  • The directory now includes 58 technology solutions, up from 55 in 2022. Although the landscape has not fundamentally changed, several existing solutions have expanded their reach, providing new products, protocols, services and more.
  • A few new trading venues have been added, offering a variety of features such as a new OpenAI GPT-4 powered software aimed at assisting investors by answering bond related questions, compliance and reporting tools, bond pricing sources and new execution protocols.
  • ICMA research published earlier this year found that generally smaller trade sizes are executed on venues while block trades are traded OTC. From a liquidity perspective, trading venues can provide access to a wider range of market participants. This is particularly the case through the emergence and adoption of different protocols.

Understanding the growing importance of trading venues early on, ICMA first published the ETD in 2015. The aim was to provide a consolidated overview of the capabilities and services provided by trading venues, which since then has expanded to cover also OMS/EMS and bulletin boards. ICMA has undertaken to update this directory on a regular basis and expand its scope.

The ICMA Electronic Trading Directory is a unique resource available to members and regulators through the ICMA website.

The directory does not constitute an exhaustive list of providers in the market. Other relevant providers that are not yet covered by the directory and wish to join are welcome to do so. Please contact us for further details.

ICMA’s technology directories are also available to non-members on a subscription basis.


Bond market structure and liquidity are at the heart of ICMA’s work. Trading venues and platforms play a vital role in contributing to market liquidity, as documented notably in ICMA’s recent Secondary Market Practices Committee - European Secondary Bond Market Data H2 2022 report. ICMA’s findings show that 36.5% (€17,033bn) of total sovereign bond volumes in 2022 were traded on venue and 63.5% (€29,567bn) OTC through liquidity providers. For smaller trades (<€1mn notional equivalent) trading venues appeared to be the main distribution channel, with dealer-to-client platforms responsible for 52% of the transactions and 31% of the volume (€426bn). In contrast, liquidity providers were responsible for 48% of the transactions and 69% of the volume (€942bn).

Furthermore, the third edition of ICMA’s Asian International Bond Markets: Developments and Trends report, published in March 2023, highlights that electronic venues continue to become more popular in Asia-Pacific. Historically this has been mainly prompted by efficiencies, with most e-trading in smaller trade sizes and in more liquid, investment grade names. Recently, this has been driven more by the need for price discovery and the search for liquidity. In the twelve months leading up to the report’s publication, a growth in the adoption of protocols other than RFQ, including all-to-all and portfolio trading was observed.

To view further ICMA studies please visit ICMA Reports and Papers.


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