IMC was among the early pioneers of options market making, and among the first to recognise the role of technology in making markets more efficient. Today pricing and trading volatility remains at the core of IMC’s business. IMC is a top 3 market maker in the listed options space globally, and has long-standing relationships with all best-regulated trading venues.
Our Options Direct Counterparty (DCP) Trading desk was set up in 2018, leveraging our presence in screen and IDB market making, and allowing counterparties to request prices directly and trade listed options and futures with IMC off-screen.
With best execution critical, it’s essential to have a diversified liquidity provider list which includes a large market maker. There are several reasons for this: as banks continue to reduce their risk appetite, market makers are now the primary source of liquidity in most listed screen markets worldwide. What’s more, market makers like IMC have the technology to price and trade in all conditions, including periods of greater volatility, so can always provide tight prices. Finally, for new products which may be less straightforward to price, market makers, as specialists, are much more comfortable with their pricing so can quote tighter spreads.
At IMC all of our effort goes in to pricing. We are an efficient and focused operation, our product is simple: the tightest spread possible for listed derivatives. We don’t charge commissions and we don’t employ large sales teams providing trade ideas and research.
Because we interact with such a high proportion of the total market volume we have valuable real-time visibility of market flows which we share with counterparties. We also work closely with exchanges on market structure and product launches – new exchange developments is info we also share with interested counterparties.
Our internal traders make a price and take the other side of the trade on to our own book. We can hold this risk and then gradually work out of it through our on-screen trading.
We have a system which trades a huge amount of total on-screen volume. That means we’re efficient at taking on and dispersing risk into the market with low impact.
Our counterparties request prices from us through Bloomberg chat (we have permanent IB rooms with all of our counterparties) and RFQ platforms (Tradeweb, RFQHUB, BBG RFQE, Eurex Enlight).
For an initial chat you can reach out to our options sales team (details below).
Cathal joined IMC in January 2018 to set up the Options Direct Counterparty desk. His focus is building out the business by attracting new counterparties and helping put in place systems to optimise IMC’s interaction with this flow.
Prior to joining IMC, Cathal worked for six years in trading and sales with Susquehanna where he helped set up the Options DCP desk.
He holds a MSc in Finance from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Sam is on the Direct Counterparty team, trading index and single stock options directly with banks, asset managers and hedge funds. His focus is efficient order execution and growing IMC’s roster of counterparties.
He joined IMC in 2019 from investment bank Société Générale in London, where he first worked in European cash equity sales and later launched a multi-asset sales and trading desk.
He holds an MBA from Oxford University and a Master of Mechanical Engineering from King’s College London.
Paul is responsible for trading, onboarding and relationship management with direct counterparties including asset managers, hedge funds and banks trading European-listed options. He joined IMC 10 years ago to trade options and futures on the Bund, the Bobl and the Schatz.
A former professional basketball player with a BSc in Marketing, Paul launched his trading career as a broker, later becoming an institutional trader.