The U.S. equity derivatives business clearly became smaller from year to year. After a relatively strong start to 2012, business slowed dramatically in the second quarter and has yet to bounce back due to the general lack of conviction among institutions about market direction and the resulting lack of market activity.
Following a slowdown in trading activity from mid-year 2009 to mid-year 2012, U.S. institutions and ISDA are hopeful about a recovery in equity derivatives trading volumes in 2013, but hardly bullish. Activity in the equity derivatives market is a function of broad investor sentiment. According to Jayson Kim with AIG, “at the moment investors are not confident about the durability of the economic recovery or the future direction of financial markets but remain optimistic.”
Nasdaq OMX last night announced it was taking a 25% stake in the three-year old Dutch trading platform upon final approval from Tom’s existing shareholders – ABN Amro. Trading in European listed derivatives has for some time been a fairly costly duopoly between Liffe and Deutsche Börse’s Eurex. The exchanges offer nominal competition in some contracts, such as short-dated interest-rate futures, but even where competition exists liquidity still tends to pool at one exchange.