Tags: bond | equity | White | transparency

Bond Market Poses Greater Transparency Threat Than Equities Do

By    |   Friday, 11 Jul 2014 08:00 AM

Recent revelations regarding opaque dark pools and algorithmic traders in the equity market has left a major market still in the dark: the bond market.

The total U.S. bond market capitalization stands at approximately $15 trillion, with $11.3 trillion in corporate bonds and $3.7 trillion in municipal bonds.

This figure is approaching the annual gross domestic product, as well as the total outstanding federal debt. In addition, it represents roughly 60 percent of the total U.S. equity market capitalization of nearly $24 trillion.

Mary Jo White, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, plans to shine the light on these opaque bond markets, in much the same manner as that being done for the equity markets.

Bonds trade much less frequently than stocks do, and their prices are not readily available to the average investor. Municipal bonds have tens of thousands of issuers, but they are traded on many decentralized and fragmented markets, more so than their corporate bond counterparts.

White believes the current technology benefits the bond market intermediaries at the expense of the retail investing public. She is focused on providing fixed-income markets with greater pre-trade pricing transparency that will: 1) enhance price competition, 2) facilitate better execution and 3) promote overall market effectiveness and efficiency.

By definition, fixed-income instruments provide a contractual guarantee of return. Equities do not. As such, the bond market needs to function with greater transparency than do equities to preserve this fiduciary arrangement.

White is on the right track.

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Recent revelations regarding opaque dark pools and algorithmic traders in the equity market has left a major market still in the dark: the bond market.
bond, equity, White, transparency
246
2014-00-11
Friday, 11 Jul 2014 08:00 AM
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