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Optiver – Best European ETF Market-Maker


Following another year of expansion, Optiver – three-time winner of the Best European ETF Market-Maker Award – believes that innovation is the future and collaboration the key to unlock it. 

Optiver seized the opportunity to facilitate growth in the ETF sector three years ago and is now one of Europe’s leading ETF liquidity providers. But its trading history spans back even further than that. The market maker has been trading derivatives since its inception in 1986 and moved to ETFs a decade ago by providing liquidity on-exchange in a small range of liquid ETFs.

According to Jean-Marie Tine (pictured), Head of Institutional Trading Delta 1 at Optiver, 2018 was a fantastic year: “We managed to triple the number of notional requested in ETFs and grew the number of Institutional Investors trading with us by more than 150 per cent.” 

“A global presence through our offices in Amsterdam, Chicago and Sydney, enabled the Institutional Trading team to reach out to Institutional Investors seeking liquidity in ETFs,” says Tine. The firm increased its global coverage with significant growth in Europe, Latin America and Asia. 

To meet the additional demand, resources were bolstered and the team now consists of six highly-experience institutional traders, 20 traders and an infrastructure and technology team dedicated to Delta 1.

MiFID II also had a positive effect. “Lots of doors are now open because institutional investors, looking for liquidity providers, realise that Optiver is the biggest liquidity provider in Europe, offering a real alternative to trading with banks and brokers.”

So what does the future hold? Optiver’s Delta 1 team is now focused on repeating the success it achieved in ETFs – moving from on screen liquidity to Institutional Investors – with all Delta 1 products. “Now that the ETF business is established, we are looking for how else we can engage with our Institutional Investors”. The firm has always been a market maker in some Cash Equities but it now offers continuous liquidity in more than 1000 leading European stocks to Institutional Investors. “We want to reproduce what we achieved in the ETF space with Cash Equities,” says Tine.

“Now that we have Institutional Investors approaching us for trades, we can focus on developing partnerships that allow for continuous improvement of the Cash Equity environment. We believe that the execution landscape should evolve and only through a collaborative approach with Institutional Investors, can we unlock this type of innovation,” says Tine.

Improving the market by providing liquidity has always been Optiver’s motto says Tine. “By now also focussing on innovating execution, we hope to take the positive impact that we can have to another level”. 

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