SAFE Working Paper No. 298

OTC Discount

We document a sizable OTC discount in the interdealer market for German sovereign bonds where exchange and over-the-counter trading coexist: the vast majority of OTC prices are favorable with respect to exchange quotes. This is a challenge for theories of OTC markets centered around search frictions but consistent with models of hybrid markets based on information frictions. We show empirically that proxies for both frictions determine variation in the discount, which is largely passed on to customers. Dealers trade on the exchange for immediacy and via brokers for opacity and anonymity, highlighting the complementary roles played by the different protocols.