Tag Archives: jay berkman

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Quant-Centric ETF Market-Maker Jane Street Adds Corporate Bond Axe

Jane Street Capital, the quant-centric proprietary trading firm best known for its dominant role in the ETF marketplace–including its role as a liquidity provider for stocks and options as well as exchange-traded funds to buy-side accounts– has a new arrow in its quiver; making markets in corporate bonds.  The firm disclosed that it is lifted its anonymous veil and is now a ‘disclosed dealer’ on electronic bond trading platform MarketAxess (NASDAQ: MKTX).

jane-street-capitalShall we guess whether the 6-pack banks and their first cousins–the industry’s legacy source of liquidity to buy-side managers navigating the corporate bond market landscape are (i) happy to have a new competitor, (ii) happy not to have to make markets and tie up balance sheets with inventory of hard-to-move corporate bonds or (iii) f–king pissed that tech-focused prop trading firms are now invading a secondary market product area that banks have viewed as their exclusive territory since time began?  Jay Berkman, a ‘bond-tech’ pioneer given his co-founding role of BondNet, the corporate bond markets’ first electronic exchange platform when it launched in 1995 (and later acquired by BNY) answered the MarketsMuse editor’s question with: “Is that a rhetorical question?!”

As noted by WSJ reporter, Matt Wirz, investment banks and brokerages are the main go-betweens for money managers looking to buy and sell corporate bonds, about $25 billion of which trade daily in the U.S. Now, Jane Street Capital LLC, has begun offering the same service to investment firms on electronic trading platform MarketAxess and has recruited about 60 clients, people familiar with the matter said.

The move puts Jane Street in direct competition with traditional dealers like Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. It also shows how bond markets are being transformed by electronic and algorithmic trading, innovations that swept stock and currency markets more than a decade ago.

Jane Street’s headquarters are a five-minute walk from Wall Street, but in some ways the firm is more akin to a Silicon Valley startup than an investment bank. “They have a different approach—there’s not a lot of sales and a lot of technology,” says Mike Nappi, a bond trader for mutual-fund manager Eaton Vance Corp. who has bought and sold bonds through Jane Street. “That’s different from a traditional bank where they have a lot of sales and the technology is more like Microsoft Excel.”

By joining those ranks, Jane Street aims to get recognition from asset managers for the balance sheet it uses to buy and sell with them, ultimately boosting the amount they trade with the firm, said Matt Berger, the firm’s head of fixed income and commodities trading. Jane Street trades about $550 million worth of corporate bonds in the U.S. every day, he said. This amounts to about 2% of the overall market, five times more than the firm traded two years ago.

That expansion would have been impossible without the recent spread of electronic bond trading.

Technology-driven trading firms like Jane Street and Virtu Financial LLC emerged after stock exchanges electronified in the 1990s, connecting  buyers and sellers through computers and reducing trading times to fractions of a second. The firms’ computer scientists built programs to cull market data and identify profitable trades that humans missed. Now, quantitative trading firms dominate the stock market.

Electronic trading has been slower to catch on in debt markets because bonds typically trade over-the-counter rather than on centralized exchanges. That has begun to change over the past five years as banks and money managers turn to electronic trading and data analysis to trim costs and to connect to more trading partners. Electronic trading platforms like MarketAxess have given Jane Street and other quantitative investors venues to apply the technology they used in other markets.

MarketAxess accounted for about 18% of all U.S. investment-grade bond trading last year, up from 12% in 2014, according to data from the company.

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Jane Street, founded by four partners including Michael Jenkins and Robert Granieri, now has about 50 bond salespeople and traders. Recruiting materials tout chess facilities, office gyms, math puzzle contests.

The firm trades less debt overall than most banks, which still employ hundreds of human sales and trading staff. But when it comes to its inventory of corporate bonds, “we are on par with the banks,” Mr. Berger said.

Jane Street hold bonds on its balance sheet for days or weeks to facilitate so-called portfolio trades of bundles of bonds often tied to ETFs. The portfolio deals normally range from $50 million to $750 million but can go as high as $2 billion, a person familiar with its trades said.

Read the full WSJ story here

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This Broker-Dealer Gives Back & Pays Forward

Broker-Dealer

Newport Beach, CA & Stamford, CT – November 1, 2018 — Each year, Mischler Financial Group, Inc. (“Mischler”), the securities industry’s oldest investment bank and institutional brokerage owned and operated by service-disabled veterans, pledges a percentage of the firm’s profits to veteran and service-disabled veteran philanthropies as part of its annual Veterans Day charitable initiative. This year, Mischler is proud to announce that Army Ranger Lead The Way Fund will be the recipient of the Mischler 2018 Veterans Day Month pledge.

lead-the-way fundEstablished in 2007, Army Ranger Lead The Way Fund, Inc. (“LWTF”) is a 501c3 Non-Profit created in honor of Sgt. James J. Regan (“Jimmy”) who served with Charlie Company, 3d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. Jimmy was killed in action while serving in Baqubah, Iraq on February 9, 2007, at the age of 26. Since its formation, the organization has been dedicated to raising funds to support disabled U.S. Army Rangers and the families of Rangers who have died, have been injured or are currently serving in harm’s way around the world. LTWF provides spouses and children of deceased, disabled or active duty Rangers with assistance for acute medical care, recovery and wellness programs, warrior transition programs and other services determined to be vital to the family’s well-being, beyond what the government can offer.

Dean Chamberlain, Chief Executive Officer of Mischler and a graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point who served as a Captain in the U.S. Army 4th Infantry Division from 1985-1990 stated, “We are grateful to the many clients of our firm who provide us with the opportunity to demonstrate our capabilities and in turn, afford us the ability to pay back and pay forward to carefully-selected philanthropies throughout the year. When paying tribute to Veterans Day, in particular, we believe that Army Ranger Lead The Way Fund meets and exceeds the objectives of our firm’s philanthropic mission.”

broker-dealer-mischler-veteransAbout Lead The Way Fund, Inc.

Army Ranger Lead The Way Fund, Inc., A 501c3 Non-Profit, Is An Active Duty, Casualty Assistance, Recovery, Transition And Veterans Organization That Provides Financial Support, Beyond What The Government And Veterans Affairs Can Offer, To U.S. Army Rangers And The Families Of Those Who Have Died, Have Been Disabled Or Who Are Currently Serving In Harm’s Way Around The World. The organization website is https://www.leadthewayfund.org/.

About Mischler Financial Group, Inc.

Mischler is a federally-certified Service-Disabled Veteran-owned Small Business (SDVOSB). Established in 1994, the firm is FINRA’s oldest investment bank and institutional brokerage owned and operated by Service-Disabled Veterans. Within the primary capital markets, Mischler provides investment banking, underwriting, and distribution of corporate debt and equities, and municipal debt issuance. Mischler’s secondary market, conflict-free capabilities extend across the U.S. and global equity markets, exchange-traded funds and the U.S. fixed income markets. Mischler also provides asset management for liquid and alternative investment strategies. Clients of the firm include leading institutional investment managers, Fortune corporate treasurers and municipal officials, public plan sponsors, endowments, and foundations. The firm’s website is located at www.mischlerfinancial.com.

Media Contact:

Jay Berkman

The JLC Group

www.thejlcgroup.com