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22 Jun 2017

Leading the way in liquidity


There are plenty of reasons behind our rise as Europe’s second-biggest ETF provider. Among them is the excellent liquidity we provide.


What is liquidity?

For us, it’s about helping investors trade quickly in or out of a position with minimal impact on its pricing. Three things matter most:


  • The tightness of the bid-offer spread – the difference in the price at which you can buy and sell a position.

  • The market’s depth – the size of a trade you can make at a particular spread. It’s no good if a trade becomes much more expensive when you buy or sell a lot more shares.

  • Resilience – the consistency of the previous two elements, particularly when markets are stressed. Liquidity shouldn’t disappear at the first sign of trouble.

Grégoire Blanc

Raphael Zenou
Head of Capital Markets

A history of success

Our ETFs trade with some of the tightest spreads on the market – whatever the size of the transaction. And you can trade several million euros in most of our ETFs at a much lower cost than buying the equivalent basket of underlying securities.

We’ve also shown we can navigate periods of stress. For example, during the flash-crash of 24 August 2015 some S&P 500 ETFs were trading 35–40% below the index. But our ETF was never further than 1.7% away.

All of this is down to the way we’ve implemented a robust and efficient primary market over time, in turn, feeding a highly liquid secondary market for ETFs.



Putting our clients in pole position

Individual stock prices are essentially a function of supply and demand. That doesn’t work for ETFs as they have to faithfully replicate the price of the indices they track rather than the demand for them. If the FTSE 100 is falling, but there’s strong demand for our FTSE 100 ETF, we can’t allow it to rise in price. 


ETFs are open-ended funds, meaning new shares can be created whenever they’re needed or existing shares redeemed if there’s too much supply. This happens in the primary market, and is carried out by highly regulated financial institutions called Authorised Participants (APs).

We work with a large number of APs – 45 – and have been developing our relationships with them for the last 16 years. They are very diverse in company structure, geographical location and client base, meaning investors have plenty of choice in executing their trades. The competition between APs with each other for trades also helps push prices down for our clients.

Our set-up was designed with liquidity in mind. It’s flexible in terms of the sizes that can be created or redeemed, the fees we charge and the times APs can place an order. All the APs we’ve selected are committed and reliable, and we monitor their prices to ensure they fairly reflect the value of the underlying exposure. 

Together, these factors have made our primary market operation more efficient than those of many other providers.


Punching above our weight

Investors can also trade existing ETF shares among themselves in the secondary market. This occurs on stock exchanges and the over-the-counter (OTC) market. Around 60–80% of ETF flows are traded OTC in Europe, because it has generally been easier for investors to source large pools of liquidity there

Investors can trade our ETFs throughout the day on 13 of the world’s major exchanges, making it easier to move in or out when needed. We have one of the strongest networks of liquidity providers in Europe, with 23 firms registered as market makers for our ETFs on one or more European exchanges.

The upshot is we’re punching above our weight. Last year, we managed around 10% of all assets in European ETFs, but had 18% of the market’s liquidity. Nearly one in every five euros traded in ETFs on a European exchange was with us. 


A virtuous circle

Over the years we’ve developed more relationships, with more market makers, than most ETF providers. This creates competition, and leads to tighter bid-ask spreads. This prompts more demand for our ETFs from investors and higher on-exchange turnover. That then attracts more market makers, who are keen to be involved with such heavily traded ETFs. 


virtuous circle

This is no accident; it’s the result of many years of hard work. We’ve increased our AUM, developed a far-reaching range of ETFs, established strong relationships with numerous market makers and reached dedicated agreements with them to make sure our ETFs stay highly liquid. 

​The end result? When you choose Lyxor ETFs you’ll be able to trade in volume, when needed and with stable returns relative to risk.



Source: All data, Lyxor Capital Markets 15/06/2017

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