MarketAxess is looking to expand its municipal bond trading services as it confirms its intention to acquire a central electronic venue for brokers and inter-broker traders, MuniBrokers.
The fixed-income platform provider said it has entered into a deal to acquire MuniBrokers from municipal bond brokerage firm Hartfield, Titus & Donnelly (HTD). Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it is subject to closing conditions and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.
MuniBrokers offers an electronic municipal bond marketplace, connecting 14 municipal securities brokers, hundreds of institutional dealers and stock brokers to trade more than $ 400 million in taxable and tax-exempt municipal bonds every day. HTD has agreed to continue using the MuniBrokers platform to ensure a continuous level of liquidity.
“The acquisition of MuniBrokers further strengthens our growing footprint in the municipal bond market,” said Chris Concannon, President and COO of MarketAxess. “Connecting our cutting-edge trading technology to liquidity from one of the industry’s largest inter-dealer electronic marketplaces creates a compelling and diverse liquidity solution that will ultimately deliver an enhanced execution experience.”
MarketAxess added that the deal will expand its existing municipal bond trading services after recently expanding access to its US taxable municipal bond liquidity through its regulated platforms in the UK, Europe and in Singapore.
The extension follows a record adoption rate in U.S. taxable municipal bond trading in 2019 at MarketAxess, with full-year trading volumes up 53% to $ 5.1 billion.
MuniBrokers marks the latest acquisition of MarketAxess. In November, the fixed income trading firm completed its $ 150 million acquisition of the LiquidityEdge US Treasury bill trading market. The deal allowed MarketAxess to enter the US Treasury bill market for the first time, competing with Tradeweb and CME Group.
“This relationship represents an excellent opportunity in the intermediated municipal securities market, leveraging the proven strengths of MuniBrokers, HTD’s experience as the broker’s prime broker and the industry-leading capabilities of MarketAxess,” said Ron Purpora , chairman of the parent company HTD. “We look forward to demonstrating the benefits of this relationship to the market and to our customers.”