Transparency proposals for European sovereign bond markets
Peter G. Dunne
Purpose – The debate over the possible extension of transparency regulation in Europe to include sovereign bonds has opened up a number of other issues in need of serious consideration. One such issue is the appropriateness of the entire infrastructure supporting the trading of European sovereign bonds. In recent years, sovereign issuers have supported the development of an electronic inter-dealer market but have remained unconcerned with the opacity of dealer-to-customer trading. The degree of segmentation in this market is high relative to what exists in nearly all other financial markets. The purpose of this paper is to outline the transparency proposals for European sovereign bond markets. Design/methodology/approach – This paper explores why European sovereign bond markets have developed in such a segmented way and considers how this structure could be altered to improve transparency without adversely affecting liquidity, efficiency or the benefits enjoyed by primary dealers and issuers. Findings – It is suggested that the structure of the market could be improved greatly if the largest and most active investors were permitted access to the inter-dealer electronic trading platforms. This would solve a number of market imperfections and increase the proportion of market activity that is conducted in a transparent way. Originality/value – The paper argues that sovereign issuers in Europe have the means to provide incentives that would influence dealers to support reduced segmentation. Some practical examples of how this could be achieved are provided and the potential benefits are outlined.
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