Bonds

Embracing innovation: How automation is transforming municipal bond trading

Transcription:

Transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio for the authoritative record.

Michael Scarchilli (00:05):

Hi everyone and welcome to the Bond Buyer Podcast, your essential resource for insights into everything municipal finance. I’m Mike Scarchilli, editor in chief of the Bomb Buyer, and this week we will delve into the evolving landscape of electronic trading and automation within the muni world. Joining us to explore this topic is James Morris, senior Vice President at Investor Tools, a company at the forefront of software solutions for the fixed income marketplace. With over two decades at Investor Tools, James has witnessed firsthand the rapid advancements in electronic trading and has been instrumental in developing their investor tools, dealer network enhancing connectivity between buy-side and sell-side counterparts. In today’s discussion, we’ll cover the transformative impact of technology on trading workflows, the changing role of municipal bond traders, how automation is reshaping pre-trade transparency and market efficiency and more. Let’s get started and dive into this episode’s conversation between James Morris and the Bond buyers executive editor Lynne Funk.

Lynne Funk (01:15):

Hello everyone and welcome again to this Bond Buyer podcast. I’m Lynn Funk, executive editor at the Bond Buyer, and today I’m delighted to welcome James Morris, senior vice President at Investor Tools. Welcome James.

James Morris (01:27):

Thanks, Lynne. Pleasure to be here.

Lynne Funk (01:30):

Great. So let’s kick off some things with a bit about what you do at Investor Tools, what Investor tools is for those who don’t know, you’ve been at the company for quite some time now over 22 years, so why don’t you tell us your areas of focus and then we’ll get kind of drilled down into those areas throughout the rest of the podcast.

James Morris (01:48):

Sure, happy to do that. So to your point, been at Investor Tools for over 22 years now, and for those who don’t know, investor tools as a software provider focusing on serving the fixed income marketplace, we started out focusing it on portfolio management and grew into order management and now we’ve been building out execution capabilities as we help establish connectivity between buy-side and sell side counterparties. And that actually is a nice segue into where I’ve been focusing recently and historically I’ve played a sales role. I still do play that sales and relationship role, but my close contact with my buy-side clients and dealer clients has really positioned me to help lead our efforts when it comes to building out what we call the investor tool Steeler network, which you can think of as connectivity between buy side and sell side to facilitate electronic trading.

Lynne Funk (02:41):

Excellent. So actually let’s just get into it. Electronic trading, it’s obviously evolved much over the years. The market, the muni market has lagged corporates and treasuries obviously, but from your seat, how much has electronic trading changed over the past few years?

James Morris (03:01):

I mean, in the municipal space it’s changed dramatically over the past five years, especially, I mean the past three years, even more so I would say that electronic trading was present five years ago, but it certainly was not making up the bulk of any particular person’s workflow. I think it was something that was available, but the market really hadn’t engaged. And I would say over the past five years there’s been a dramatic change. We’re currently in a period of rapid evolution and I would say the pace of change when it comes to electronic trading and adoption of electronic trading and the breadth of adoption of electronic trading for firms is rapidly increasing. I would say also though that the adoption of electronic trading is not equal across what I’ll refer to as the muni verse. There’s lots of dynamics at play there, but I would say high level, the types of businesses from mutual funds to hedge funds, ETFs, insurance companies, SMAs, all of what role you play, what kinds of products you manage, that definitely will drive whether or not you’re a player in electronic trading right now in Munis. The other kind of aspect that goes into that is, and it’s going to be related to those products and what they tend to buy, it’s going to have to do a lot with the size of the trade that they are willing to engage in and where they see value in the marketplace.

Lynne Funk (04:32):

Do you see, when you mentioned size of trading electronic trades, how’s that evolved? Can you talk a little bit about that?

James Morris (04:39):

Sure. So I think what I’ve observed is that early on, a lot of electronic trading was probably actually in the bid wanted space. I think you saw some bid wanted space, and so there were large things up for the bid tend to be a little bit larger and a decent sized blocks. But I would say that as the market has embraced electronic trading, we’ve seen maybe the most rapid adoption in the odd lot space. And I think there’s a number of things that go into that, but certainly it’s I think the comfort of the size of the trade. Initially, I think it was if you were to make some sort of mistake, the mistake was muted because it was a small trade, but also I think that there’s always been value in that odd lot space, but what prevented people from doing a lot of odd lot trades was that it took about the same amount of time to do a round lot trade versus non lot trade.

(05:39):

So it was once contextualized to me like this by someone in the market. They had said, I can spend five minutes writing a ticket for a 25 piece, or I can spend five minutes writing a ticket for a 2 million piece and I can service a lot of different portfolios so I can kind of move the needle more with that 2 million piece versus that 25 piece. So if I’m going to engage on that 25, it’s got to be really cheap. Well, the velocity that people can engage now with due to electronic trading has totally changed that equation. Instead of spending five minutes to do an electronic trading ticket for a 25 block, if they’re really leveraging their tools to the best of their ability, they can write a hundred different tickets in a few seconds.

Lynne Funk (06:22):

That certainly has been a major change and maybe we’ll talk a little bit more about the players who are involved in that further down the conversation. But I want to ask you now though, has automation perhaps improved pre-trade price, pre-trade transparency and workflows in general from your seat?

James Morris (06:45):

So I would say that it absolutely has improved both pre-trade transparency and workflows. When I think about, I’m going to start with pre-trade transparency, when I think about that topic, to me it’s a combination of both connectivity and automation that have contributed to improvements. So before I get too far down that answer, I’m going to just define transparency. And so I’m thinking of this in terms of receiving indicative or firm prices from the counterparty that you’re looking to trade with and indicate where they’re willing to sell or buy the bond before you go into the trade. And so thinking about that, there’s connectivity and that’s going to facilitate the communication and the aggregation of those prices. And I feel like in the past you may have to bounce to a number of different platforms, a number of different systems to try to coalesce that data, and there was a big effort that had to be put into that.

(07:41):

But electronic communication now and aggregation has really reduced the amount of effort that has to go, that has to be put forth into receiving that data. The automation side of the improvements really have to do, I think more with the ability of the counterparty to both increase the frequency with which they’re pricing or repricing their book and then send those messages to each one of the buy-side firms or to a platform with increasing frequency. So I think we’ve seen an increase due to automation and how often the books are being repriced, but also just the ability to reprice rapidly.

Lynne Funk (08:27):

So I guess then maybe you could dig into a little bit more about pricing. Has pricing improved perhaps because of electronic trading?

James Morris (08:37):

Sure. The one thing that I probably shouldn’t have said when it comes to automation and really increasing that pre-trade transparency was I did have an example. I was thinking about this with what we’ve been working on with our connectivity, I would say the middle of the day, an average, if you took a snapshot of what’s out there, there’s probably 350,000 different market data entries that are aggregated in front of the average BYSIDE client now. Whereas I feel like historically, like I said, would’ve had to pivot to go and find those and taken quite a bit of effort to bring them all together. And I would say the context for that number is primarily dealer offers, and that’s going to be a constraint to transparency and what’s available in any given point in time. And we can explore this a little bit later, but I mean there’s a million securities in the universe and I think that we can kind of explore that a little bit.

(09:40):

But the workflow improvement I places where things get exciting for me because as effectively a front end for the buy side, one thing that’s the core of our software, the ability to integrate live market data with what I’m going to call the asset manager’s proprietary data, that has really led to some tremendous increase in efficiency. And so when I say proprietary data, that’s not supposed to be a black box. I’m talking about things like their portfolio holdings, their objectives and constraints for their portfolios, the structure of the index that they’re managing against, the internal credit analysis that their credit team is running and their approved list and things like that. But the ability to put all that together, that’s really changed and really powered the automation and the ability to automate,

Lynne Funk (10:37):

Right? Each buy side player has their, it’s like you said, not a black box, but it’s their own unique

James Morris (10:43):

Suite. Yeah, 80% of what any given buy side shop does is all kind of common across in the industry effectively. I mean, some of those things that we do to operate, they’re common. That’s not what they’re adding to the business. That’s not their secret sauce, but the 20% their secret sauce, they’ve got to be able to bring that together with what’s available in the market to make decisions that are good for their portfolios and that are going to affect those portfolios in a way that they want to uniquely.

Lynne Funk (11:15):

Can you talk a bit about then from how I Investor tools does provide the buy side with liquidity?

James Morris (11:23):

Sure. So what we’ve been up to is we have been working on connectivity really. So it’s first and foremost. And so we’ve got two different kinds of connectivity you could say. And historically we started out with order and execution connectivity, so you can route orders to different platforms. What we’ve been up to more recently and what’s really represented by the investor tools dealer network is what, I guess I’ll call it direct or disclosed bilateral trading connections and that connect the direct connectivity between dealers and their buy-side counterparties. So what’s important to understand is each buy-side counterparty that I work with has their own unique implementation, their own set of systems. And so what we’ve been up to is facilitating taking that unique implementation and connecting it to the dealers that buy-side open with, and that allows them to communicate directly and like I said, for bilateral trading purposes. So I guess what I would get at is there’s no one in between. They’re just speaking to each other directly and negotiating as if they were having conversation.

Lynne Funk (12:37):

So I’m curious if we could kind of drill down into looking at the buy side broadly, if we look at separately managed accounts, and I think that’s such an interesting area of the market. Every conference that the bond buyers hosted and that I’ve been attending, everybody’s talking about sma, some have pegged at it right over, they’re holding a trillion or more. And we know that’s also more retail focused growth. It’s sort of a shift from direct retail perhaps to the SMAs. How much has automation contributed to their growth or helped that area of the market grow?

James Morris (13:19):

When I was thinking about, I’ve thought about this recently, there’s been a lot of headlines about SMAs. And so automation certainly, I would say at least has allowed the growth. I don’t know that it’s driven the growth, but it’s possible. But there’s a bit of conjecture on my part to say that it has driven the growth, but certainly, I guess I’ll explain that a little bit. I think fundamentally, fundamentally, automation is allowing asset managers to do more with less. So people talk about do more with less. I like to say they’re at least allowing them to increase the ratio of a UM to employees. So they’re making them more efficient and they’ve had to do that because as a part of this growth, and as you observed, we’ve seen a lot of growth in that retail space. When I think of SMA, there’s really three flavors of SMA, there’s probably more, but it’s something like institutional, ultra high, net worth, high worth, and then retail.

(14:11):

And so those are the kind of the three flavors of SMA that are common across the market. And I think we’ve seen a lot of that growth in that retail segment. And what the reason we’ve seen that is big, and I guess the fact that we’ve seen a lot of growth and partly the reason we’ve been able to grow there is due to automation. Because automation has really allowed an expansion of product offerings. You’ve seen account minimums reduce, and so the people have been pursuing this expansion. So you’ve seen a lot of account minimums. If you rewind, I dunno, 10 years ago, I feel like it was common to have an account minimum that was around a million dollars. And it’s not uncommon today to see account minimums that are more like $250,000. So I’ve seen them down into like a hundred thousand dollars, which is getting, and for SMA terms getting pretty low, and there’s probably a lot that goes into that.

(15:05):

What I’ve seen is in order to be able to dramatically grow the number of accounts and be competitive on fees, you’ve had to leverage technology. You’ve had to be able to leverage automation to be able to invest that portfolio. And if you think about it, their fees on asset manager’s fees for that, that they’re receiving for that account are effectively fixed. And if you get however many basis points you’re charging on that a hundred thousand dollars and you’ve got to be able to operate and invest that portfolio and service that portfolio and do it with excellence for that amount, put that kind of margin and still get paid, that’s something at the end of the year. So ultimately it’s forced efficiency and automation has allowed, I would say automation has allowed certainly the investing of those portfolios to be done. And it’s allowed our clients to be able to handle many, many more portfolios with the same front office staff.

(16:03):

So one of the ways that we’ve, I guess what I would measure this as I look at portfolio construction times and how long it has taken our clients to invest those portfolios from say, cash to fully invested. And so one of the metrics that they’re always looking is how long does it take us to invest these portfolios? And I would say, I’m not sure how long ago, three to five years ago, the average investment period for a ladder style portfolio was probably in that 30 to 45 days for an average portfolio because they’ve got their book growing and they’re working and investing it throughout all the time. And with automation, we’ve had clients come back and invest those portfolios in one to two days. So you see the dramatic change in what people are capable of by leveraging systematic automation and electronic trading.

Lynne Funk (17:00):

I can’t remember the actual figures, but if I’m recalling correctly, and maybe you can help me out here, is back in, I think it was October, right when the market media market was, the rates were just very high right before the rally in November. The odd lot count went out tremendously in October. And again, and I’m just curious, is that, do you see something along the lines of electronic trading helping in that effort?

James Morris (17:26):

Absolutely. So I would say what we saw was we observed the same thing. Our clients absolutely leveraged electronic trading in October and even more so in November. And I think there were a few dynamics, there was a market dynamic there. I think we saw you had less supply coming through the new issue market. I think there was a lot of folks, there was a lot of opportunity in the market became attractive and people were looking to get those portfolios invested. But you also have this dynamic of as year end approaches, there’s a lot of emphasis on paying attention to your total realized gains and losses. So tax loss, harvesting trade, that trade comes into play and it comes really a point of focus. And the asset manager are all looking to make sure that wherever they are for the year that they can get to where they want to be by the end of the year. And so there’s a bit of a race to get to where they want to be. And from what I saw, our clients were absolutely leveraging automation to participate in those tax loss harvesting processes at scale.

Lynne Funk (18:31):

So can you talk a little bit more about the success of sma? What’s technology and automation really done there? Is that something you can touch on here?

James Morris (18:39):

Yeah, absolutely. So like we mentioned, certainly SMAs have been able, the SMA managers have been able to scale their businesses as a part of, we’re using electronic trading and automation. And so they’ve benefited greatly on the investment process side, but I also believe that as a part of that investment process, that they’re now producing more consistent portfolios. And as a part of, if you think about how an SMA manager is graded, like the selection process when you’re choosing who’s going to manage a portfolio for you, a big part of that is evaluating their historical returns. And important aspect of that is looking at the volatility of their returns or the consistency of their product over time. And I believe that if we look at the consistency of their products from both a return volatility and a structural standpoint, you’re going to see significant improvement due to having a better awareness and access to the different securities that are available in the market and to some extent getting better execution than they have in the past. The fact that they have better products and that they have better consistency is making the asset class even more attractive. And I think that’s contributing to its growth.

Lynne Funk (19:55):

I had mentioned the word transparency generally earlier or the lack there of it in this market. Do you think there are ways perhaps in post-trade transparency that automation’s improved that?

James Morris (20:12):

Yeah, absolutely. Like you said, we talked a little bit about pre-trade on the post-trade side of transparency. Automation has definitely facilitated an increased in transparency. And what I’m thinking about here is that just by the very, its very nature electronic trading and the electronic nature of electronic trading and having that data already captured and inside systems, that has led to the streamlining and really automation of reporting some of those trade details. And so I think that the vast majority of electronic trades are reported very quickly, and that has resulted in, I think, better transparency also just the availability of data electronically. So I’m thinking about things like the MSRB trade trade data. I think a lot of firms have that in front of them now, and that has really increased the availability and maybe the ease of use of some of that data. So transparency on the post-trade side is absolutely increased.

(21:14):

Coming back a little bit to thinking about how automation may have helped the pre-trade transparency, I think we talked a little bit about it in the terms of the dealer offers. I think the algorithmic pricing and the spread and the fact that it’s become more commonly available and are more dealers are running algos now, I think that’s really allowed dealers to price spending more bonds than they have in the past. And so certainly that helps them on the offer side. But I also think you see a lot, they’re able to respond to many more requests for now than they ever or would’ve in the past. And so I feel like it’s much easier to get many more bids now when clients are putting lists out there. And so that’s certainly to some extent, I guess that’s a form of transparency. And so I feel like there’s morbids and better data that’s coming to them as a result of those algos being out there. I would say though, coming back to the whole item of transparency, I think there’ll always be a bit of friction, or maybe we can call it kind of complaining in the market just because of the breadth of this market and you’ve got structural differences across a million different securities, and the fact that you can’t short those securities, A dealer’s probably not. There’s a lot of value to them, provide quotes to a counterparty for securities that they can’t sell. So that’s always just going to be an impediment.

Lynne Funk (22:44):

So James, could you talk a little bit about pricing? How has pricing improved perhaps because of electronic trading?

James Morris (22:51):

Sure. Happy to do that. Yeah, I would say that both end of day and intraday pricing have improved. I’d say actually in rate pricing is probably more of a product that’s evolved out of the uptake in electronic trading. So there’s been a push pull effect. The way I would characterize it, I think the pull effect is there’s been an increased demand for real time in intraday pricing as a result of the proliferation electronic trading. I think the ability to use intraday pricing has now is either developed or has developed as a result of electronic trading, and as a result, there’s a lot more that’s available. Now. I think you see this in the form of, there’s a couple of, I’m aware of ICE, continuously evaluated pricing. Tradeweb AI price, a company called Spline is out there creating intraday yield curves in pricing, thick AI market access as CP plus.

(23:48):

These are all I want to characterize ’em as. I also newer entrants and newer products as a result of increased electron trading. So there’s demand that has driven the need for these, but also there’s kind a supply side component here. And what I mean there is the data that it takes to increase precision of these prices is much more readily available than it was. So you have systems capturing bid history and execution data, and then MSRB trade data and all of that. And that’s all being taken into account in a lot of these pricing engines. Everyone doing it their own unique way. I don’t have good insight into the secret sauce of all of them, but I’m aware of each of them kind of taking into account effectively live market data and incorporating that into their pricing methodology. So yeah, absolutely. Electronic trading has resulted in a proliferation of real-time pricing services. And then as those have become more precise, I think you’ve seen the benefits of that precision hit the end of day pricing as well.

Lynne Funk (25:06):

So James, you touched a bit on the bid back capabilities, like the process of the buy side firms selling bonds. Can you talk a little bit more about that, how that shifted through automation?

James Morris (25:20):

Sure. So a lot of the automation that initially has been taken advantage of in, at least in electronic trading and munis that I’m aware of is it’s focused on buying bonds. So the ability to aggregate inventory and find the right bonds and build out portfolios. But the other side of that, this whole equation is obviously the selling bonds. And so for a long time people have been able to make lists of bonds, put them out for the bid on different platforms and venues. So we’ve got connectivity to the ATSs and to Bloomberg. And so you’ve got the ability, our clients for a long time have had the ability to put a list out and pivot over and go to that fed and kind of work those bonds, work those lists, and ultimately sell some bonds. Where we’re seeing automation now actually is in the ability to take lists.

(26:15):

One of the things that we’ve just been working on really is take lists and put them out on multiple platforms and collect a consolidated bid list from all the different platforms and then evaluate that consolidated bid stack and execute. And so the way that we approach things, it’s usually stepping stones, but what we’re seeing now is people, instead of reviewing that bid stack one by one, they have parameters that want to put in and they say, look, as long as the bids I’m receiving back meet these criteria, I just want to execute this. I don’t want to administer every individual item with the whole context for a lot of our discussion has been pressure on SMA managers to scale and do more with less like we talked about. And so taking those traders and allowing them to only really put their eyes on the things that really require their eyes and their time, that’s allowing them to just be more efficient and to cover many more portfolios.

(27:18):

And so using an auto X type of a protocol, whether that’s in our system across multi-platforms or a lot of these other ATSs have their own X protocol now, or you can put something out for the bid, you can establish your parameters, and if the bids that you receive back kind of meet those parameters, then you just get an execution message back. It has really added a lot of efficiency to the whole process. And I think it’s still, I would say in Munis, it’s still somewhat in its infancy. These are pretty new developments, but for the folks that are using those, I think they’ve received, they’re telling us that there’s a tremendous amount of value in the process. And I think that when you have the ability to now take some automation and apply that to the selling side of the business, and when you’ve had automation that you’ve applied to the buying side of your business, you’re beginning to really unlock potential for more. And so when I say that the pace of change and innovation and adoption and electronic trading is really increasing, it’s getting very interesting.

Lynne Funk (28:26):

Absolutely. I think that this is a good takeaway because I think what I’m curious about, and probably what a lot of listeners are curious about too, is what does this all mean for the changing role of the muni bond trader? This is not moved as fast to other markets, but it is seeming to start to move a little faster. So from your seat, what do you see talk about the evolution of the muni bond trader?

James Morris (28:53):

Yeah, that’s a really, really good question because it has changed. And I think early on, I think part of one of the impediments to adoption of electronic trading was a concern about how does the bond trader add value to their firm and what is their role? And it was kind of like, well, my relationship and the relationships I have and the discussions that I have with my coverage though, that’s how I add value because I can get better execution. I think that at least in the odd lot space and maybe up until the a million dollar type of a block range, I think that argument is eroding to some extent. I think that as people have as more electronic trading and that takes place, and as people have explored that space, I think there’s much more confidence in the quality of trades that are being done electronically. And so what that’s meant is that instead of adding value by talking and negotiating, you’re still adding value and you’re still able to negotiate electronically. That’s not a lift only type of a market. You can do that, but certainly you can negotiate anyway. That’s a sidebar.

Lynne Funk (30:04):

Well, I think what you’re saying is it’s like the realization that you’re not going to lose your job as essentially.

James Morris (30:12):

Well, absolutely. What has happened is there’s been a pivot, and a lot of the traders have embraced it because they’ve realized that the key thing that they’re adding to the whole process was not having the conversation. It’s their knowledge of the market and their read of the market in real time, and their ability to understand really what goes in to their valuation of a bond and to assess whether the valuations of bonds that they’re looking at, whether they agree with or disagree with, and certainly whether something is cheap or not. And so the trick now is how do they express that? How do they get that into their automation? So that’s where I see a lot of traders spending time. It’s really thinking about what goes into that valuation equation, what parts of the market are attractive right now, and how to tune their automation at any given point in time. They’re putting a lot more effort in there and effectively kind of coming in touch with many more securities than they would have manually. So they’re just expanding their reach, but they’re really applying their expertise over a much greater number of opportunities now.

Lynne Funk (31:26):

Absolutely. I think I’ve heard from several traders and some who don’t have access yet, those firms aren’t employing this. They’re like, bring on, I can’t do the amount of work that I know that I could do anymore, and I know my job. I know I could do a better job if I had these tools. So I think it’s an interesting dynamic. It’s sort of a lot of things in the muni market when you hear people reverse to change, but then once we start to see the efficiency of it and how it works and how it can you benefit,

James Morris (32:00):

Well, the hardest part about change for a trader is that most traders don’t have really any slop time in their day. They are busy a hundred percent of the day, and sometimes that’s because there are inefficient processes that are for whatever reason, a part of their day, but they have to execute those processes with perfection or there’s traders. And so change is difficult because there’s risk involved. So if they have a process that whether it’s really efficient or a little bit clunky, but they’re able to be effectively perfect at it, asking them to change to try something different, that’s a big ask. So we’ve certainly walked through that with a lot of our clients, and everyone’s also just a little bit has a different appetite for technology and change. So it’s been interesting, but I haven’t seen anyone who’s wanted to fail to be successful at this point.

Lynne Funk (33:03):

Well, I would hope not. I would think not. So James, we’ve covered a lot of ground. Do you think there’s anything else that I didn’t ask you you want to touch on before we say bit a do?

James Morris (33:18):

I think we’ve covered a lot of ground. I guess what I would like to leave everyone with is that there’s been a tremendous evolution in the muni space when it comes to electronic trading and automation. An interesting observation actually that we can all cheer about for those of us who have lived a lot of our life in Munis is I feel like when you started introducing the podcast, we talked about how there’s a perception that automation and electronic trading and Munis has lagged corporates. And I feel like to some extent it’s either catching up or in certain spaces it’s actually leaped ahead just a little bit. I feel like if you go to a lot of these conferences, there’s, I’m heading into the Phils conference here in a little bit in June. One of the perpetual topics is this pursuit of automation and what it takes to achieve automation. And it’s fun to hear, and those are really good topics and it’s fun to hear people get excited about it, but then also to see the degree to which automation has actually already been achieved and taken hold in the muni market. It’s interesting, I think that the muni market’s going to give corporates a run for its money when it comes to treading and automation.

Lynne Funk (34:38):

That’s an interesting thought. I like this. I like this. So essentially, you’re telling me we are going to have to catch up again soon to see maybe in a few months where Munis are. James, it’s been great conversation. Thank you so much for joining me today, and thank you to everybody for listening, and we’ll see you soon. Thanks again, James.

James Morris (35:00):

You’re very welcome. Thanks for having me.

Michael Scarchilli (35:02):

We hope you enjoyed this episode. A big thank you to James for joining us and to our own Lin Funk for conducting the interview. Let’s review some key takeaways from this conversation. One, the municipal bond market has seen a significant shift toward electronic trading over the past few years. This evolution has led to more streamlined trading workflows, enabling the handling of smaller trade sizes more efficiently, and increasing the overall speed of transactions. This has broadened participation and made the market more accessible. Two, with the rise of automation and electronic trading, the role of muni bond traders has shifted from traditional negotiation to leveraging their market knowledge to configure and optimize trading algorithms. Traders now focus more on market analysis and strategy development, utilizing technology to manage larger volumes of trades more effectively. And three, advances in connectivity and automation have greatly enhanced pre-trade transparency, allowing traders to access more frequent and comprehensive pricing updates. This combined with more efficient workflows helps traders make more informed decisions, manage portfolios more effectively, and respond more swiftly to market changes. Thanks again for listening to this Bond Buyer podcast. This episode was produced by the bond buyer. If you enjoyed this episode, please hit like and subscribe on your favorite podcast player, and please rate us, review us and subscribe to our content at www.bombbuyer.com/subscribe. Until next time, I’m Mike Scarchilli signing off.

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