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Deep-Dive: Four ways to stand out in the thriving fixed income market

Tom Engleback | 27.01.2023

The fixed income market is having its moment in the sun. Investors are flocking to the asset class after a difficult 2022 and technological breakthroughs are opening tantalising new possibilities for a market that has traditionally lagged its peers.

As inflation fears subside, we are likely to see a boom in bond trading as investors seek stable returns in a tough trading environment. Meanwhile, surging electronic trading volumes, vast swathes of new data and breakthroughs in AI are paving the way for an exciting new era in fixed income. No longer an antiquated, slow-moving asset class – all eyes are now on the bond market.

This represents a huge opportunity, not only for bruised investors, but for the platforms, brokers and technology providers that keep the market moving. From electronic trading pioneers to challengers looking to take a slice of the pie, competition is ramping up and driving innovation. This leaves a critical question for firms looking to retain their crowns or disrupt the status quo: how do I get noticed in such a competitive market?

As specialist communications professionals, it is our job to tell the story behind the bond trading boom. Adding colour to what will become one of the big finance stories of 2023, but also creating narratives that set clients apart, build profile, capture interest and, ultimately, drive business. But with the market advancing at a breakneck pace, how can firms achieve this? There are four key principles behind a successful corporate campaign:

  1. Leverage personalities: The bond market is far from boring – the same is true of the personalities driving the industry forward. Similar to the protagonists of big tech, smart and vibrant personalities can become synonymous with the businesses they lead – effectively communicating innovation and ensuring prospective clients hang on every word. The right messaging delivered through credible outlets, timed around significant events such as crucial business developments or technological advances is central to this. Electronic trading giants MarketAxess and Tradeweb are currently tackling this challenge, as the CEO baton is passed to successors, Chris Concannon and Billy Hult respectively – marking distinct new eras for both businesses. Much work has been done in the lead-up to the successions, but what comes next will be critical to framing the direction and personalities of both businesses.
  2. Highlight innovation: With so many participants vying for attention, what lies under the bonnet of these businesses counts. Trading technology in the fixed income space is highly sophisticated – communicating technological progress, particularly in how it benefits traders, is key to differentiating. Highlighting the utility of new tools, protocols and the impact of AI is essential, but showcasing the calibre of the talent behind the solutions – whether the brokers, developers or technologists – is equally important.
  3. Tap into broader trends: Context is everything. Thinking about fixed income in isolation can miss the issues faced by senior decision makers on trading desks – seeing the bigger picture is therefore crucial. The shift to multi-asset trading is a good example of this. Cost pressures and volatile markets are increasing demand for cross-asset capabilities. Tapping into broader trends and understanding how fixed income solutions will help solve the problems of the trader of the future is key to prospective buyers.
  4. Use data: The electronification of fixed income markets has opened the floodgates to an influx of data. From shining a light on volumes, pricing and trading behaviour – data offers valuable insights into how the market is evolving. Use it. Whether adding context to market stories or showing how participants are trading, deployed in the right way, data can add an extra dimension to a successful PR campaign – achieving regular, high-quality coverage that builds awareness.

So it’s all to play for. Firms can develop market-beating solutions, yet, if traders don’t know about them, they will struggle to win market share. For participants keeping bond markets moving, instilling the same excitement they feel over their offering in prospective clients is therefore key. Intelligent, well-executed PR campaigns that resonate with senior decision makers should be a top priority for those that have built a reputation over decades and firms looking to become future leaders.

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