Buy Side Look to Implement More Electronic Credit Trading Tools 

Iseult Conlin

Adopting an electronic workflow allows credit market participants to streamline each step of the trading process, according to Iseult Conlin, Head of U.S. Institutional Cash Credit at Tradeweb.

“Clients are increasingly turning to electronic tools and protocols to access deeper pools of liquidity, streamline their workflow, reduce costs and increase transparency,” Conlin told Traders Magazine.

Tradeweb’s credit platform has continued to experience significant growth as clients look to implement more electronic tools and protocols to create efficiencies in their everyday trading, according to Conlin.

Most recently, Tradeweb achieved record second quarter revenues in 2Q22 for U.S. Credit (and European Credit) and reported record share of fully electronic U.S. High Grade TRACE in 3Q22.

As the first platform to offer portfolio trading for corporate bonds, Tradeweb continues to create new and efficient ways for participants to move risk, Conlin said.

Conlin joined Tradeweb in 2018 after almost eight years at BlackRock, where she most recently served as an Investment Grade Bond Trader. In that role, she spearheaded the firm’s electronic credit trading efforts and market structure advisory, alongside trading a variety of investment grade credit products. 

In her current role, Conlin oversees strategy and implementation for credit products, building new trading protocols by collaborating with market participants to innovate, streamline and advance electronic credit trading.

According to Conlin, some current initiatives include: Trade on spread at market close – useful to clients deploying passive investment strategies that benefit from executing trades at the market close, and offers clients more flexibility to arrange these trades in advance of the close; and Enhancements to Tradeweb’s RFQ protocol as part of Tradeweb’s Spotlight Dealer Diversity Program – to make it easier for diverse dealers to expand their direct trading relationship with buy-side clients as well as provide opportunities for them to intermediate all-to-all trades on Tradeweb AllTrade network.

Conlin said that most recently Tradeweb rolled out Bulk Treasury Crossing for portfolio trading—a new hedging tool that reduces Treasury tickets from hundreds to a few. “Collaborating with clients led us to this feature that streamlines workflows and furthers efficiency,” she commented.

Conlin said that clients are becoming more comfortable leveraging electronic tools and protocols to move large amounts of risk. 

“We are also seeing clients leverage a diverse set of electronic tools and protocols throughout their trading workflow,” she said. 

For example, we’ve seen clients substitute some RFQ and all-to-all trading with portfolio trading to take advantage of the certainty of execution, time and cost savings associated with the protocol,” she added.

Conlin stressed that Tradeweb is focused on meeting their clients’ needs, while being at the forefront of technological developments across the credit trading ecosystem. 

“My team and I are always iterating and collaborating closely with clients to deliver innovative, electronic solutions that enhance the trading experience,” she said.

The goal is to promote efficiency and transparency while creating smarter tools that help make their clients’ jobs easier, Conlin said.

She added that some highlights include Tradeweb’s Multi-Client Net Spotting (MCNS) technology, an evolution through partnership with Tradeweb clients to address the challenges around spotting with an automated process of aggregation and netting of Treasury spots applied across a firm’s corporate bond transactions and relationships. “In reimagining this process, we have enabled hundreds of billions of trading flow to be hedged electronically,” she said.

In addition, according to Conlin, the firm played a key role in the successful advancement of trader-controlled automation protocols with Tradeweb’s AiEX functionality, which allows traders to control all aspects of trading by automating how orders are submitted to the market and defining rules for accepting and rejecting trades.

Moreover, the team also launched Tradeweb’s “hugely popular” portfolio trading protocol, which allows institutions to package multiple bonds into a single basket, negotiate a portfolio level price with liquidity providers including banks and principal trading firms, and execute in a single transaction.

Conlin was recognized by Markets Media as Top Fixed Income Trader in the publication’s Women in Finance Awards in 2017. Conlin said that while significant strides have been made in terms of female representation within financial services, “there’s definitely room for more.”

“We are our own advocates for change and we all play an important role in championing women’s advancement and equality within our industry and more broadly,” she stressed.

Conlin added that Tradeweb is focused on fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace that supports and promotes women within the organization. 

Some of Tradeweb’s initiatives include their Global Women’s Network, which offers employees access and support to various opportunities at Tradeweb. This includes internal and external events, which address a variety of topics to encourage employees to push the discussion of diversity forward and develop actionable strategies to promote equality, inclusion and collective problem solving. 

In addition, Tradeweb’s DE&I Committee raises awareness, provides a forum to discuss DE&I and also educates, informs, promotes, and encourages a DE&I culture, Conlin said.

“Tradeweb prides itself on its culture, providing resources and programs to help employees develop professionally while celebrating our differences and shared values,” she said.

According to Conlin, there’s certainly more work to be done, but creating and fostering a strong and engaged community of women at work can help bridge the gap. 

“While women supporting women is key, having male advocates in the workplace is imperative,” she argued.

Markets Media Group’s eighth-annual U.S. Women in Finance Awards will be held in November 17, 2022, live and in-person at the HardRock Hotel New York City.