Risk Interdealer Rankings 2015: Competition heats up

Rankings appear to be telling a story of increasing competition, while gap between winners and contenders is narrowing in many cases


On the face of it, not much has changed in this year's Risk ranking of interdealer brokers. Icap wins again, primarily on the back of a dominant performance in rates – the over-the-counter market's biggest product set, where it finished top in 11 of the 15 interest rate swap categories, for example.


Tullett Prebon came second overall, winning currencies outright, performing strongly in rates and finishing third in equities, where Sunrise Brokers again took the top spot.

Dip beneath the surface, though, and the rankings appear to be telling a story of increasing competition. BGC and Tradition have switched places in the overall standings, and the former did particularly well in currencies, jumping two spots to second overall. In equities, a challenger broker has emerged – the three-year-old Square Global Markets. And across the various tables, there was a jump in the share of the vote going to third- and fourth-ranked brokers – the gap between winners and contenders is narrowing in many cases.

Market polls are not an exact science, but the trends suggested by this year's version feel correct, intuitively. This is a sector under pressure, from numerous sources. In the biggest categories, brokers need scale to survive – lots of clients to offset generally shrinking volumes, strong technology to protect margins, and global reach so they can provide access to a diverse array of markets.

It is no surprise that, as the biggest firms sharpen their strategies, they are consolidating their position at the top of the tree – at the expense of asset-class specialists and national or regional champions. Exotic products appear to be the exception.

Against this backdrop, our usual write-up of rankings results and interviews with the winners is replaced by a more ambitious, wide-ranging look at a selection of the key themes that will determine the sector's future, and separate winners from losers.


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