MarketAxess Holdings, Inc.
MARKETAXESS HOLDINGS INC (Form: 10-K, Received: 02/26/2010 12:53:40)
Table of Contents

 
UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
 
 
Form 10-K
 
     
(Mark One)    
þ
  ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
    For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2009
o
  TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
    For the transition period from          to          
 
Commission File Number 001-34091
 
 
MARKETAXESS HOLDINGS INC.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
 
     
Delaware
(State of incorporation)
  52-2230784
(IRS Employer Identification No.)
299 Park Avenue, New York, New York
(Address of principal executive offices)
  10171
(Zip Code)
(212) 813-6000
 
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
SECURITIES REGISTERED PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OF THE ACT:
 
     
Title of each class:
 
Name of each exchange on which registered:
 
Common Stock, par value $0.003 per share   NASDAQ Global Select Market
SECURITIES REGISTERED PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(g) OF THE ACT:
None
 
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.  Yes  o      No  þ
 
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act.  Yes  o      No  þ
 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.  Yes  þ      No  o
 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).  Yes  o      No  o
 
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (§ 229.405 of this chapter) is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of the registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.   o
 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):
Large accelerated filer  o Accelerated filer  þ Non-accelerated filer  o Smaller reporting company  o
(Do not check if a smaller reporting company)
 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).  Yes  o      No  þ
 
The aggregate market value of the shares of common stock and non-voting common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant as of June 30, 2009 (the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter) was approximately $305.4 million computed by reference to the last reported sale price on the NASDAQ Global Select Market on that date. For purposes of this calculation, affiliates are considered to be officers, directors and holders of 10% or more of the outstanding common stock of the registrant on that date. The registrant had 31,749,827 shares of common stock, 2,291,787 of which were held by affiliates, and 2,585,654 shares of non-voting common stock outstanding on that date.
 
At February 24, 2010, the aggregate number of shares of the registrant’s common stock and non-voting common stock outstanding was 34,810,970.
 
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
 
Portions of the registrant’s definitive proxy statement for the 2010 Annual Meeting of Stockholders are incorporated by reference into Items 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 of Part III of this Form 10-K.
 


 

 
MARKETAXESS HOLDINGS INC.
 
2009 FORM 10-K ANNUAL REPORT
 
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
                 
        Page
 
PART I
  Item 1:     Business     1  
  Item 1A:     Risk Factors     20  
  Item 1B:     Unresolved Staff Comments     34  
  Item 2:     Properties     34  
  Item 3:     Legal Proceedings     34  
  Item 4:     Submission of Matters to a Vote of Security Holders     34  
 
PART II
  Item 5:     Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities     35  
  Item 6:     Selected Financial Data     37  
  Item 7:     Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations     39  
  Item 7A:     Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk     59  
  Item 8:     Financial Statements and Supplementary Data     61  
  Item 9:     Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure     92  
  Item 9A:     Controls and Procedures     92  
  Item 9B:     Other Information     92  
 
PART III
  Item 10:     Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance     93  
  Item 11:     Executive Compensation     93  
  Item 12:     Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters     93  
  Item 13:     Certain Relationships and Related Transactions and Director Independence     93  
  Item 14:     Principal Accounting Fees and Services     93  
 
PART IV
  Item 15:     Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules     94  
  EX-21.1
  EX-23.1
  EX-31.1
  EX-31.2
  EX-32.1
  EX-32.2


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PART I
 
Forward-Looking Statements
 
This report contains certain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements may be identified by words such as “expects,” “intends,” “anticipates,” “plans,” “believes,” “seeks,” “estimates,” “will,” or words of similar meaning and include, but are not limited to, statements regarding the outlook for our future business and financial performance. Forward-looking statements are based on management’s current expectations and assumptions, which are subject to inherent uncertainties, risks and changes in circumstances that are difficult to predict. It is routine for our internal projections and expectations to change as the year or each quarter in the year progresses, and therefore it should be clearly understood that the internal projections and beliefs upon which we base our expectations may change prior to the end of each quarter or the year. Although these expectations may change, we are under no obligation to revise or update any forward-looking statements contained in this report. Our company policy is generally to provide our expectations only once per quarter, and not to update that information until the next quarter. Actual future events or results may differ, perhaps materially, from those contained in the projections or forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include those discussed below and elsewhere in this report, particularly in Item 1A “Risk Factors.”
 
Item 1.    Business.
 
MarketAxess operates a leading electronic trading platform that allows investment industry professionals to efficiently trade corporate bonds and other types of fixed-income instruments. Our 730 active institutional investor clients (firms that executed at least one trade in U.S. or European fixed-income securities through our electronic trading platform during 2009) include investment advisers, mutual funds, insurance companies, public and private pension funds, bank portfolios, broker-dealers and hedge funds. Our 67 broker-dealer market-maker clients provide liquidity on the platform and include most of the leading broker-dealers in global fixed-income trading. Our DealerAxess ® trading service allows dealers to trade fixed-income securities and credit default swaps with each other on our platform. Through our Corporate BondTicker tm service, we provide fixed-income market data, analytics and compliance tools that help our clients make trading decisions. In addition, we provide FIX (Financial Information eXchange) message management tools, connectivity solutions and ancillary technology services that facilitate the electronic communication of order information between trading counterparties. Our revenues are primarily generated from the trading of U.S. and European high-grade corporate bonds.
 
Our multi-dealer trading platform allows our institutional investor clients to simultaneously request competing, executable bids or offers from our broker-dealer clients and execute trades with the broker-dealer of their choice from among those that choose to respond. We offer our broker-dealer clients a solution that enables them to efficiently reach our institutional investor clients for the distribution and trading of bonds. In addition to U.S. high-grade corporate bonds, European high-grade corporate bonds and emerging markets bonds, including both investment-grade and non-investment grade debt, we also offer our clients the ability to trade crossover and high-yield bonds, agency bonds and credit default swaps (“CDS”).
 
The majority of our revenues are derived from monthly distribution fees and commissions for trades executed on our platform that are billed to our broker-dealer clients on a monthly basis. We also derive revenues from technology products and services, information and user access fees, investment income and other income. Our expenses consist of employee compensation and benefits, depreciation and amortization, technology and communication expenses, professional and consulting fees, occupancy, marketing and advertising and other general and administrative expenses.
 
Traditionally, bond trading has been a manual process, with product and price discovery conducted over the telephone between two or more parties. This traditional process has a number of shortcomings resulting primarily from the lack of a central trading facility for these securities, which creates difficulty matching buyers and sellers for particular issues. Many corporate bond trading participants use e-mail and other electronic means of communication for trading corporate bonds. While this has addressed some of the shortcomings associated with traditional corporate bond trading, we believe that the process is still hindered by limited liquidity, limited price


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transparency, significant transaction costs, compliance and regulatory challenges, and difficulty in executing numerous trades at one time.
 
Through our disclosed multi-dealer Request For Quote (“RFQ”) trading functionality, our institutional investor clients can determine prices available for a security, a process called price discovery, as well as trade securities directly with our broker-dealer clients. The price discovery process includes the ability to view indicative prices from the broker-dealer clients’ inventory available on our platform, access to real-time pricing information and analytical tools (including spread-to-Treasury data, search capabilities and independent third-party credit research) available on our Corporate BondTicker tm service and the ability to request executable bids and offers simultaneously from up to 50 of our broker-dealer clients during the trade process. On average, institutional investor clients receive several bids or offers from broker-dealer clients in response to trade inquiries. However, some trade inquiries may not receive any bids or offers. Our services relating to trade execution include single and multiple-dealer inquiries; list trading, which is the ability to request bids and offers on multiple bonds at the same time; and swap trading, which is the ability to request an offer to purchase one bond and a bid to sell another bond, in a manner such that the two trades will be executed simultaneously, with payment based on the price differential of the bonds. Once a trade is completed on our platform, the broker-dealer client and institutional investor client may settle the trade with the assistance of our automated post-trade messaging, which facilitates the communication of trade acknowledgment and allocation information between our institutional investor and broker-dealer clients.
 
Typically, we are not a party to the trades that occur on our platform between institutional investor clients and broker-dealer clients; rather, we serve as an intermediary between broker-dealers and institutional investors, enabling them to meet, agree on a price and then transact with each other. However, we also execute certain bond transactions between and among institutional investor and broker-dealer clients on a riskless principal basis by serving as counterparty to both the buyer and the seller in matching back-to-back trades, which are then settled through a third-party clearing organization. These are primarily voice-assisted trades, a service that we introduced as an adjunct to RFQ trading during late 2008 in response to the adverse effect of the credit crisis on dealer liquidity in corporate bonds. MarketAxess Corporation, our U.S. subsidiary, acts as intermediary on a riskless principal basis in these bond transactions by serving as counterparty to the two clients involved.
 
Our broker-dealer clients accounted for approximately 97.2% of the underwriting of newly-issued U.S. high-grade corporate bonds and approximately 69.6% of the underwriting of newly issued European high-grade corporate bonds in 2009. We believe these broker-dealers also represent the principal source of secondary market liquidity in the other markets in which we operate. Secondary market liquidity refers to the ability of market participants to buy or sell a security quickly and in large volume subsequent to the original issuance of the security, without substantially affecting the price of the security. In addition to trading fixed-income securities by traditional means, including the telephone and e-mail, our broker-dealer clients use proprietary single-dealer systems and other trading platforms as well as our electronic trading platform. We believe that the traditional means of trading remain the manner in which the majority of bonds are traded between institutional investors and broker-dealers. Our volume in U.S. high-grade corporate bonds represented approximately 6.2% of the total U.S. high-grade corporate bond volume, excluding convertible bonds, for 2009 as reported by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) Trade Reporting and Compliance Engine (“TRACE”), which includes inter-dealer and retail trading as well as trading between institutional investors and broker-dealers. We have not identified a reliable source of data relating to the size of most of the other markets we serve and therefore we are unable to accurately determine the total volume of secondary trading of these bonds or the portion of such trading conducted on our platform.
 
Industry Background
 
Fixed-income securities are issued by corporations, governments and other entities, and pay a pre-set absolute or relative rate of return. As of September 30, 2009 there were approximately $34.6 trillion of fixed-income securities outstanding in the U.S. market, including $6.9 trillion of U.S. corporate bonds.
 
The U.S. and European credit markets have been through a period of significant turmoil since the third quarter of 2007, especially in short-term funding and floating rate note instruments. A widespread retrenchment in the credit markets resulted in increased credit spreads and significantly higher credit spread volatility across a wide range of asset classes. Credit yield spreads in U.S. corporate bonds, as measured by the Credit Suisse Liquid


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U.S. Corporate Index, increased from 1.0% over U.S. Treasuries in June 2007 to a peak of 5.4% in December 2008. The credit markets demonstrated significant improvement throughout 2009, with net inflows to taxable bond funds and corporate and international bond exchange-traded funds, and an increase in the volume of new issues of high-grade corporate bonds compared to the second half of 2008. Credit yield spreads in U.S. corporate bonds declined to 1.2% over U.S. Treasuries as of December 31, 2009. The average daily trading volume of U.S. high-grade corporate bonds for the quarter ended December 31, 2009, as measured by TRACE, was $11.0 billion, compared to $8.0 billion in the quarter ended December 31, 2008.
 
U.S. High-Grade Corporate Bond Market
 
The total amount of U.S. corporate bonds outstanding has grown from $3.0 trillion as of December 31, 1999 to $6.9 trillion as of September 30, 2009. The average daily trading volume of U.S. corporate bonds (investment grade and high yield), as measured by TRACE, has decreased from approximately $17.9 billion in 2002 (the first calendar year for which such data are available) to $16.5 billion in 2009. We believe that this decline in average daily trading volumes is due to cyclical credit market conditions, including the recent turmoil in the credit markets.
 
The U.S. corporate bond market consists of three broad categories of securities: investment-grade debt (so-called “high-grade”), which typically refers to debt rated BBB- or better by Standard & Poor’s or Baa3 or better by Moody’s Investor Service; debt rated below investment-grade (so-called “high-yield”), which typically refers to debt rated lower than BBB- by Standard & Poor’s or Baa3 by Moody’s Investor Service; and debt convertible into equity (so-called “convertible debt”).
 
The U.S. high-grade corporate bond market, which represents the largest subset of the U.S. corporate bond market, has undergone significant change over the last decade, which has been driven by a number of factors, including:
 
  •  Improved price transparency — In 2002, FINRA adopted TRACE reporting, which requires FINRA members to report secondary market transactions in certain fixed-income securities to FINRA. The list of TRACE-eligible bonds includes 27,000 unique securities, representing the majority of the daily trading volume of high-grade bonds.
 
  •  Introduction of electronic trading platforms — Electronic trading platforms act as central facilities to bring together buyers and sellers. The actions of participants on these platforms are facilitated by an electronic medium that improves some of the manual processes that might otherwise be required, such as searching for securities with specific characteristics, the coordination of multiple bilateral telephone calls or electronic communications, the sorting and analysis of competing bids or offers, and the entry of orders into the trading system after verbal or e-mail trade agreement. As a result, these platforms typically provide a lower-cost and more efficient means of enhanced distribution and trade execution than previously possible.
 
  •  Introduction of credit derivatives — Credit derivatives can provide increased flexibility and liquidity for investors and lenders to diversify their credit exposures. The notional amount of outstanding CDS transactions grew rapidly between 2002 and 2007. However, activity in the CDS market has since fallen substantially due to concern over the risks associated with these products, in particular the counterparty credit risks.
 
  •  Growth in the total amount of debt outstanding — The total size of the U.S. high-grade corporate bond market had increased significantly from approximately $753 billion in gross amount of new bonds issued in 2005 to $1,128 billion in 2007. During 2008, high-grade corporate bond issuance declined to $706 billion as risk aversion among corporate bond investors limited the ability of issuers across a wide range of industries, in particular the financial services industry, to issue new corporate bonds. The credit markets demonstrated significant improvement throughout 2009 and an increase in new issues of high-grade corporate bonds


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  compared to 2008. Approximately 30% of the total corporate bond issuance in 2009 was government guaranteed.
 
(GRAPH)
 
European High-Grade Corporate Bond Market
 
The European high-grade corporate bond market consists of a broad range of products, issuers and currencies. We define the European high-grade corporate bond market generally to consist of bonds intended to be distributed to European investors, primarily bonds issued by European corporations, excluding bonds that are issued by a corporation domiciled in an emerging markets country and excluding most government bonds that trade in Europe. Examples include:
 
  •  bonds issued by European corporations, denominated in any currency;
 
  •  bonds generally denominated in Euros, U.S. dollars or Pounds Sterling, excluding bonds that are issued by a corporation domiciled in an emerging market;
 
  •  bonds issued by supra-national organizations (entities that include a number of central banks or government financial authorities, such as the World Bank), agencies and governments located in Europe, generally denominated in Euros, U.S. dollars or Pounds Sterling, provided that such currency is not the currency of the country where the bond was issued; and
 
  •  floating-rate notes issued by European corporations.
 
We believe that the European high-grade corporate bond market is impacted by many of the same factors as the U.S. high-grade corporate bond market. In addition, we believe the following factors are unique to the European high-grade corporate bond market:
 
  •  Regulatory environment — Certain European Union countries have eased restrictions that required institutional investors to invest primarily in domestic securities. This has provided European institutional investors with increased flexibility to invest in securities issued by entities domiciled in other countries within the European Union. On November 1, 2007, the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (“MiFID”) came into effect. MiFID is designed to further harmonize the financial markets of the member states of the European Union and introduces new pre- and post-trade transparency requirements.
 
  •  Common liquidity pool — The larger capital pool created by the common currency and changes in the regulatory environment have facilitated bond issuance by European corporations.


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Emerging Markets Bond Market
 
We define the emerging markets bond market generally to include U.S. dollar, Euro or local currency denominated bonds issued by sovereign entities or corporations domiciled in a developing country. These issuers are typically located in Latin America, Asia, or Central and Eastern Europe. Examples of countries we classify as emerging markets include: Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Turkey and Venezuela.
 
The institutional investor base for emerging markets bonds includes many crossover investors from the high-yield and high-grade investment areas. Institutional investors have been drawn to emerging markets bonds by their high returns and high growth potential. Demand for emerging markets bonds declined significantly in the fourth quarter of 2008 as the turmoil in the credit markets and the world-wide recession impacted the emerging markets. As a result, emerging markets bond prices as measured by the JPMorgan emerging markets sovereign external debt and corporate bond indices fell steeply in 2008 but have now recovered and as of December 31, 2009 were up 13.7% and 14.4%, respectively, from December 31, 2007 levels.
 
Crossover and High-Yield Bond Market
 
We define the high-yield bond market generally to include all debt rated lower than BBB- by Standard & Poor’s or Baa3 by Moody’s Investor Service. We define the crossover market to include any debt issue rated below investment grade by one agency but investment grade by the other. The total amount of high-yield corporate bonds yearly issuance has grown from $130.9 billion for the year ended December 31, 2003 to approximately $136.3 billion for the year ended December 31, 2007. During 2008, high-yield corporate bond issuance declined to $52.2 billion, primarily due to the risk aversion among corporate bond investors that severely limited the ability of high-yield issuers to raise new debt. The high-yield corporate bond markets demonstrated significant improvement throughout 2009, with new issuance for the year ended December 31, 2009 increasing to $180.7 billion.
 
FINRA publicly disseminates real-time price information on approximately 12,000 high-yield corporate bond issues and certain other transactions on a delayed basis. Trades in bonds rated BB and lower are subject to immediate dissemination if the trade size is less than $1 million, or greater than $1 million and trades an average of once or more a day. The average daily trading volume of high-yield bonds reported by FINRA for the year ended December 31, 2009 was $5.0 billion.
 
Agency Bond Market
 
We define the agency bond market to include debt issued by a U.S. government-sponsored enterprise. Some prominent issuers of agency bonds are the Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”) and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“Freddie Mac”). The total amount of U.S. agency bonds outstanding has grown from $1.9 trillion as of December 31, 2000 to $2.8 trillion as of September 30, 2009 but is $0.4 trillion below the total amount outstanding as of September 30, 2008. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported average daily trading volume in federal agency and government sponsored enterprise coupon securities (excluding mortgage-backed securities) for 2009 of $18.2 billion.
 
Credit Default Swap Market
 
Credit default swaps are contracts on an underlying asset that transfer risk and return from one party to another without transferring ownership of the underlying asset, allowing market participants to obtain credit protection or assume credit exposure associated with a broad range of issuers of fixed-income securities and other debt obligations. The trading volumes and notional amount outstanding in CDS transactions grew rapidly between 2002 and 2007. However, since 2007 activity in the CDS market has declined substantially due to concern over the risks associated with these products, in particular the counterparty credit risks. As a result, the notional amount of CDS outstanding declined to $31.2 trillion as of June 30, 2009 from $62.2 trillion as of December 31, 2007. To address the counterparty credit concerns, structural changes are occurring in the CDS market that include the creation of CDS clearing houses that serve as central counterparties for CDS transactions. We believe that the introduction of the clearing houses is likely to result in more standardized contracts and greater price transparency. Further regulatory reform in the CDS markets has been proposed to address the risks associated with these products.


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Our Competitive Strengths
 
Our electronic trading platform provides solutions to some of the shortcomings of traditional bond trading methods. The benefits of our solution are demonstrable throughout the trading cycle:
 
  •  Pre-trade — gathering real-time and historical pricing information, identifying interested buyers and sellers in a particular security, and obtaining research and analysis;
 
  •  Trade — single and multiple security trade execution; and
 
  •  Post-trade — trade detail matching, account allocation and automated audit trail.
 
We believe that we are well positioned to strengthen our market position in electronic trading in our existing products and to extend our presence into new products and services by capitalizing on our competitive strengths, including:
 
Significant Trading Volumes with Participation by Leading Broker-Dealers and Institutional Investors
 
Our electronic trading platform provides access to the liquidity provided through the participation on our platform of 67 broker-dealers, including the majority of the leading broker-dealers in global fixed-income trading, and 730 active institutional investor firms. We believe these broker-dealers represent the principal source of secondary market liquidity for U.S. high-grade corporate bonds, European high-grade corporate bonds, emerging markets bonds and the other markets in which we operate. Our broker-dealer clients are motivated to continue to utilize our platform due to the presence on the platform of our large network of institutional investor clients. We believe that our addition of 19 new broker-dealer clients during 2009, has improved and will continue to improve the liquidity on our electronic trading platform for institutional investors further motivating them to use our platform. The number of our active institutional investor clients for the past five years has been as follows:
 
(GRAPH)


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Our total trading volume over the past five years is indicated below:
 
(GRAPH)
 
Our volume in U.S. high-grade corporate bonds grew from approximately 7.6% of total U.S. high-grade corporate bond volume, excluding convertible bonds, in 2005 as reported by FINRA TRACE, which includes inter-dealer and retail trading as well as trading between institutional investors and broker-dealers, to approximately 9.4% in 2007. However, following the turmoil and resultant lack of liquidity in the credit markets since the third quarter of 2007, our estimated market share declined to approximately 6.2% for the full year 2009. Our volume in U.S. high-grade floating rate note bonds declined from $46.0 billion in 2007 to $6.6 billion in 2009. The credit markets demonstrated significant improvement throughout 2009 and our estimated share grew substantially during the second half of the year. Our estimated share of total U.S. high-grade corporate bond volume for the fourth quarter of 2009 was approximately 8.1%. Our estimated market share from 2005 to 2009 is shown in the chart below:
 
(GRAPH)
 
We have not identified a reliable source of data relating to the size of most of the other markets we serve and therefore we are unable to accurately determine the total volume of secondary trading of these bonds or the portion of such trading conducted on our platform.


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Execution Benefits to Clients
 
Benefits to Institutional Investor Clients
 
We believe we provide numerous benefits to our institutional investor clients over traditional fixed-income trading methods, including:
 
Competitive Prices.   By enabling institutional investors to simultaneously request bids or offers from our broker-dealer clients, we believe our electronic trading platform creates an environment that motivates our broker-dealer clients to provide competitive prices and gives institutional investors confidence that they are obtaining a competitive price. For typical MarketAxess multi-dealer corporate bond inquiries prior to 2008, the range of competitive spread-to-Treasury responses was, on average, approximately 10 basis points (a basis point is 1 / 100 of 1% in yield), although in 2008 that range widened to 35 basis points and it declined to 25 basis points in 2009. As an example of the potential cost savings to institutional investors, a one basis point savings on a $1 million face amount trade of a bond with 10 years to maturity translates to aggregate savings of approximately $750.00.
 
Transparent Pricing on a Range of Securities.   The commingled multi-dealer inventory of bonds posted by our broker-dealer clients on our platform consists of a daily average of more than $70 billion in indicative bids and offers. Subject to applicable regulatory requirements, institutional investors can search bonds in inventory based on any combination of issuer, issue, rating, maturity, spread-to-Treasury, size and dealer providing the listing, in a fraction of the time it takes to do so manually. Institutional investor clients can also request executable bids and offers on our electronic trading platform on any debt security in a database of U.S. and European corporate bonds, although there can be no assurance as to the number of broker-dealers who will choose to provide an executable price. Our platform transmits bid and offer requests in real-time to broker-dealer clients, who may respond with executable prices within a time period specified by the institutional investor. Institutional investors may also elect to display live requests for bids or offers anonymously to all other users of our electronic trading platform, in order to create broader visibility of their inquiry among market participants and increase the likelihood that the request results in a trade. We believe that broader participation in client inquiries will result in more trade matches and lower transaction costs.
 
Improved Cost Efficiency.   We believe that we provide improved efficiency by reducing the time and labor required to conduct broad product and price discovery. Single-security and multi-security (bid or offer lists) inquiries can be efficiently conducted with multiple broker-dealers. In addition, our Corporate BondTicker tm eliminates the need for manually-intensive phone calls or e-mail communication to gather, sort and analyze information concerning historical transaction prices.
 
Benefits to Broker-Dealer Clients
 
We also provide substantial benefits to our broker-dealer clients over traditional fixed-income trading methods, including:
 
Greater Sales Efficiency.   We offer our broker-dealer clients broad connectivity with their institutional investor clients. Through this connectivity, our broker-dealer clients are able to efficiently display their indications of interest to buy and sell various securities. We also enable broker-dealers to broaden their distribution by participating in transactions to which they otherwise may not have had access. In addition, the ability to post prices and electronically execute on straightforward trades enables bond sales professionals at broker-dealer firms to focus their efforts on more profitable activities, such as higher value-added trades and more complex transactions.
 
More Efficient Inventory Management.   The posting of inventory to, and the ability to respond to inquiries from, a broad pool of institutional investors, creates an increased opportunity for broker-dealers to identify demand for their inventory, particularly in less liquid securities. As a result, we believe they can achieve enhanced bond inventory turnover, which may limit credit exposure.


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Benefits to Both Institutional Investor and Broker-Dealer Clients
 
We offer additional benefits over traditional fixed-income trading methods that are shared by both institutional investor and broker-dealer clients, including:
 
Greater Trading Accuracy.   Our electronic trading platform includes verification mechanisms at various stages of the execution process which result in greater accuracy in the processing, confirming and clearing of trades between institutional investor and broker-dealer clients. These verification mechanisms are designed to ensure that our broker-dealer and institutional investor clients are sending accurate trade messages by providing multiple opportunities to verify they are trading the correct bond, at the agreed-upon price and size. Our platform assists our institutional investor clients in automating the transmittal of order tickets from the portfolio manager to the trader, and from the trader to back-office personnel. This automation provides more timely execution and a reduction in the likelihood of errors that can result from information being manually entered into different systems.
 
Efficient Risk Monitoring and Compliance.   Institutional investors and their regulators are increasingly focused on ensuring that best execution is achieved for fixed-income trades. Our electronic trading platform offers both institutional investors and broker-dealers an automated audit trail for each stage in the trading cycle. This enables compliance personnel to review information relating to trades more easily and with greater reliability. Trade information including time, price and spread-to-Treasury is stored securely and automatically on our electronic trading platform. This data represents a valuable source of information for our clients’ compliance personnel. Importantly, we believe the automated audit trail, together with the competitive pricing that is a feature of our electronic trading platform, gives fiduciaries the ability to demonstrate that they have achieved best execution on behalf of their clients.
 
Other Service Offerings
 
In addition to services directly related to the execution of trades, we offer our clients several other services, including:
 
Information Services.   The information and analytical tools we provide to our clients help them make investment and trading decisions. Our Corporate BondTicker tm provides access to real-time and historical price, yield and MarketAxess estimated spread-to-Treasuries for publicly disseminated FINRA TRACE-eligible bonds. Corporate BondTicker tm combines publicly-available TRACE data with the prices for trades executed on our U.S. high-grade electronic trading platform, integrating the two data sources and providing real-time TRACE data with associated analytical tools that are not otherwise available. Corporate BondTicker tm provides end-of-day CDS pricing data combined with CDS analytics and screening tools that incorporate cash bond and equity market data. In addition, Corporate BondTicker tm provides indicative prices for secondary loans, through arrangements with certain of our broker-dealer clients, and independent third-party credit research. Our electronic trading platform allows institutional investors to compile, sort and use information to discover investment opportunities that might have been difficult or impossible to identify using a manual information gathering process or other electronic services.
 
We offer a comprehensive set of reports designed to review and monitor credit trading activity for institutional investor clients. It utilizes extensive TRACE information and has a flexible interface to run and save reports in a variety of formats for both compliance and management reporting. For example, the best execution report provides a view of the savings generated by trading on our electronic trading platform and offers a quantitative measure of the value of price discovery from multiple dealers. The report allows clients to monitor performance against their own best execution policy. Our compliance product provides a printed history of each inquiry submitted through the MarketAxess trading platform.
 
Straight-Through Processing.   Straight-through processing (“STP”) refers to the integration of systems and processes to automate the trade process from end-to-end — trade execution, confirmation and settlement — without the need for manual intervention. Our electronic trading platform provides broker-dealers and institutional investors with the ability to automate portions of their transaction processing requirements, improving accuracy and efficiency. Through electronic messaging, institutional investors can submit inquiries to, and receive electronic notices of execution from us, in industry standard protocols, complete with all relevant trade details. Institutional


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investors can download trade messages, allocate trades to sub-accounts on whose behalf the trades were made and send the allocations to broker-dealers for confirmation.
 
Technology Products and Services.   In addition to our trading platform, we provide a suite of technology products. In November 2007, we formed a new subsidiary, MarketAxess Technologies Inc., which acquired certain assets of Trade West Systems, LLC (“TWS”). TWS is an Utah-based financial software and technology services provider focused on providing gateway adapters for connecting order management systems and trading systems to fixed-income trading venues. In March 2008, we acquired Greenline Financial Technologies, Inc. (“Greenline”), an Illinois-based provider of integration, testing and management solutions for FIX-related products and services designed to optimize the electronic trading of fixed-income, equity and other exchange-based products.
 
Robust, Scalable Technology
 
We have developed proprietary technology that is highly secure, fault-tolerant and provides adequate capacity for our current operations, as well as for substantial growth. Our highly scalable systems are designed to accommodate additional volume, products and clients with relatively little modification and low incremental costs.
 
Proven Innovator with an Experienced Management Team
 
Since our inception, we have been an innovator in the fixed-income securities markets. Our management team is comprised of executives with an average of more than 20 years’ experience in the securities industry. We have consistently sought to benefit participants in the markets we serve by attempting to replicate the essential features of fixed-income trading, including the existing relationships between broker-dealers and their institutional investor clients, while applying technology to eliminate weaknesses in traditional trading methods. In 2009, Credit magazine recognized MarketAxess as “Best Trading Platform (Multi-Dealer to Client)” in the U.S. and “Best e-Trading Platform for Corporate Bonds and CDS” in Europe.
 
Some of the innovations we have introduced to electronic trading include:
 
  •  the first multi-dealer disclosed trading platform for U.S. high-grade corporate bonds;
 
  •  the first electronic Treasury benchmarking for U.S. high-grade corporate bond trades;
 
  •  Corporate BondTicker TM , our information services product, combining FINRA TRACE bond data with MarketAxess data and analytical tools;
 
  •  bid and offer list technology for corporate bond trading, enabling institutional investors to request executable prices for multiple securities simultaneously;
 
  •  the first disclosed client to multi-dealer trading platform for CDS indices; and
 
  •  public Market Lists for corporate bonds, giving institutional investors the ability to display their bid and offer lists anonymously to the entire MarketAxess trading community.
 
Our Strategy
 
Our objective is to provide the leading global electronic trading platform for fixed-income securities, connecting broker-dealers and institutional investors more easily and efficiently, while offering a broad array of information, trading and technology services to market participants across the trading cycle. The key elements of our strategy are:
 
Enhance the Liquidity of Securities Traded on Our Platform and Broaden Our Client Base in Our Existing Markets
 
We intend to further enhance the liquidity of securities traded on our leading electronic, multi-dealer to client fixed-income platform. Our ability to innovate and efficiently add new functionality and product offerings to the MarketAxess platform will help us deepen our market share with our existing clients, as well as expand our client base, which we believe will in turn lead to even further increases in the liquidity of the securities provided by our


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broker-dealer clients and available on our platform. We will seek to increase the number of active European institutional investor clients using our U.S. electronic trading platform, subject to regulatory requirements.
 
Leverage our Existing Technology and Client Relationships to Expand into New Sectors of the Fixed-Income Securities Market
 
We intend to leverage our technology, as well as our strong broker-dealer and institutional investor relationships, to deploy our electronic trading platform into additional product segments within the fixed-income securities markets and deliver fixed-income securities-related technical services and products. Due in part to our highly scalable systems, we believe we will be able to enter new markets efficiently.
 
Leverage our Existing Technology and Client Relationships to Expand into New Client Segments
 
We intend to leverage our technology and client relationships to deploy our electronic trading platform into new client segments. As an example, in 2008 and 2009 we expanded the base of broker-dealers on our platform to include both regional and diversity dealers.
 
Continue to Strengthen and Expand our Trade-Related Service Offerings
 
We plan to continue building our existing service offerings so that our electronic trading platform is more fully integrated into the workflow of our broker-dealer and institutional investor clients. We also plan to continue to add functionality to enhance the ability of our clients to achieve a fully automated, end-to-end straight-through processing solution (automation from trade initiation to settlement). We are continually considering the introduction of new trading techniques. As an example, in the fourth quarter of 2008, we introduced public Market Lists for corporate bonds that give institutional investors the ability to display live requests for bids and offers anonymously to the entire MarketAxess trading community.
 
Expand our Data and Information Services Offerings
 
We regularly add new content and analytical capabilities to Corporate BondTicker tm in order to improve the value of the information we provide to our clients. We intend to continue to widen the user base of our data products and to continue adding new content and analytical capabilities. As the use of our electronic trading platform continues to grow, we believe that the amount and value of our proprietary trading data will also increase, further enhancing the value of our information services offerings to our clients.
 
Expand our Technology Services Offerings
 
We intend to leverage our technology expertise and our client relationships to provide technology solutions to our clients that enhance their electronic trading capabilities and facilitate the electronic communication of order information with their trading counterparties. In November 2007, we acquired TWS, a financial software and technology services provider focused on providing gateway adapters for connecting order management systems and trading systems to fixed-income trading venues. In March 2008, we acquired Greenline, an Illinois-based provider of integration, testing and management solutions for FIX-related products and services.
 
Pursue Strategic Alliances and Select Acquisitions
 
We plan to continue to increase and supplement our internal growth by entering into strategic alliances, or acquiring businesses or technologies, that will enable us to enter new markets, provide new products or services, or otherwise enhance the value of our platform to our clients. Examples of this are our acquisitions of TWS and Greenline.


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MarketAxess Electronic Trading Platform
 
Key Trading Functionalities
 
The key trading functionalities are detailed below.
 
Single Inquiry Trading Functionality
 
We currently offer institutional investors the ability to request bids or offers in a single inquiry from up to 50 of our broker-dealer clients for U.S. high-grade corporate bonds, from up to six of our broker-dealer clients for European high-grade corporate bonds and from up to eight of our broker-dealer clients in emerging markets bonds. Institutional investors can obtain bids or offers on any security posted in inventory or included in the database available on our platform.
 
ASAP and Holding Bin Trading Functionalities
 
We provide both ASAP (“as soon as possible”) and Holding Bin trading protocols. In the Holding Bin trading protocol, institutional investor clients set the time when they would like all of the broker-dealers’ prices or spreads returned to them, in order to have the ability to see all executable prices available at the same time. In the ASAP trading protocol, institutional investor clients see each broker-dealer’s price or spread as soon as it is entered by the broker-dealer.
 
List Trading Functionality
 
We currently offer institutional investors the ability to request bids or offers on a list of up to 40 bonds depending on the market. This facilitates efficient trading for institutional investors such as investment advisors, mutual funds and hedge funds. Institutional investors are able to have multiple lists executable throughout the trading day, enabling them to manage their daily cash flows, portfolio duration, and credit and sector exposure.
 
Swap Trading Functionality
 
We currently offer institutional investors the ability to request an offer to purchase one bond and a bid to sell another bond, in a manner such that the two trades will be executed simultaneously, with payment based on the price or yield differential of the securities.
 
Market Lists
 
We offer institutional investors the ability to display live requests for bids and offers anonymously to the entire MarketAxess trading community through our Market List functionality, thereby creating broader visibility of their inquiry among market participants and increasing the likelihood that the request results in a trade.
 
Markets
 
U.S. High-Grade Corporate Bonds
 
Our U.S. high-grade corporate bond business consists of U.S. dollar-denominated investment-grade debt issued by corporations for distribution in the U.S. Both domestic and foreign institutional investors have access to U.S. high-grade corporate bond trading on our electronic trading platform. We use the terms high-grade debt and investment-grade debt interchangeably in this annual report on Form 10-K. Our 2009 trading volume in the U.S. high-grade corporate bond market was $177.1 billion.
 
In the U.S. high-grade corporate bond market, 50 broker-dealers utilize our platform, including 18 of the top 20 broker-dealers as ranked by 2009 investment grade new-issue underwriting volume. We added 19 dealers during 2009. Our broker-dealer clients accounted for approximately 97.2% of the underwriting of newly-issued U.S. high-grade corporate bonds in 2009.
 
We offer our institutional investor clients access to a broad inventory of U.S. high-grade corporate bonds, which is provided and updated daily by our broker-dealer clients. Our electronic trading platform allows


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institutional investors to view bids and offers from one or more of our broker-dealer clients while permitting each party to know the identity of its counter-party throughout the trading process. Our disclosed inquiry trading functionality combines the strength of existing offline client/dealer relationships with the efficiency and transparency of an electronic trading platform. This enables institutional investors to instantly direct trade inquiries and negotiations to their traditional broker-dealer or to any of the substantial majority of the world’s leading broker-dealers who provide liquidity in these securities. Through our Market List functionality, we also offer institutional investors the ability to display their live requests for bid and offer lists anonymously to the entire MarketAxess trading community as a means of creating broader visibility of their inquiry among market participants and increasing the likelihood that the request results in a trade. Institutional investors have access to the commingled inventory of our broker-dealer clients, representing indicative bids and offers. Each line item of inventory represents an indicative bid and/or offer on a particular bond issue by a particular broker-dealer client. Institutional investor clients are not restricted to trading only the bonds posted as inventory, although many of the trades conducted on our platform are made from the posted inventory. To transact in a specific bond that does not appear in inventory, institutional investors can easily search our database and submit an online inquiry to their chosen broker-dealers, who can respond with live, executable prices. While, on average, institutional investor clients receive several bids or offers from broker-dealers in response to trade inquiries, some inquiries may not receive any bids or offers.
 
Eurobonds
 
MarketAxess Europe Limited, our wholly-owned U.K. subsidiary, commenced trading operations in August 2001. MarketAxess Europe Limited received Financial Services Authority (“FSA”) regulatory approval and began to offer European secondary trading functionality in U.S. dollar- and Euro-denominated European corporate bonds to our broker-dealer and institutional investor clients in September 2001. We offered the first platform in Europe with a multi-dealer disclosed counterparty trading capability for corporate bonds. In 2003, we added trading in other European high-grade corporate bonds, including bonds issued in Pounds Sterling and floating rate notes. In 2008, we introduced trading in European government bonds and in 2009 introduced trading in bonds denominated in non-core currencies. In 2009, MarketAxess Europe Limited received FSA regulatory approval to trade on a riskless principal basis.
 
In the Eurobond credit market, defined as including European high-grade, high yield and government bonds, 21 broker-dealers utilize our platform, including 16 of the top 20 broker-dealers as ranked by 2009 European investment grade new-issue underwriting volume. On a typical day, institutional investors on our European corporate bond trading platform have access to 8,000 line items of commingled inventory, representing an aggregate of approximately $27 billion of indicative bids and offers. In a single inquiry, institutional investors can request bids or offers from up to six of the broker-dealers who participate on the European platform. While many of the trades conducted on our platform are made from the posted inventory, institutional investor clients are not restricted to trading only the bonds posted as inventory. To transact in a specific bond that does not appear in inventory, institutional investors can easily search our database and submit an online inquiry to their chosen broker-dealers, who can respond with live, executable prices. While, on average, institutional investor clients receive several bids or offers from broker-dealers in response to trade inquiries, some inquiries may not receive any bids or offers. Our 2009 trading volume in the Eurobond market was $56.8 billion.
 
Emerging Markets Bonds
 
Twenty-nine of our U.S. broker-dealer clients use our platform to trade emerging markets bonds. 302 active institutional investor clients (firms that executed at least one trade through our electronic trading platform between January 2009 and December 2009) utilize our electronic trading platform to trade emerging markets bonds. These institutional investor clients are located in both the U.S. and Europe. The emerging markets countries whose bonds were most frequently traded on our platform in 2009 were Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela, Russia and Colombia.
 
In December 2007, we introduced local markets emerging market debt trading, which allows our institutional investor clients to transact Euroclear-eligible local currency denominated bonds issued by sovereign entities or corporations in countries that include Mexico, Brazil and Argentina.


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Crossover and High-Yield Bonds
 
Forty-six of our U.S. broker-dealer clients use our platform to trade crossover and high-yield bonds. Trading in crossover and high-yield bonds uses many of the same features available in our U.S. high-grade corporate bond offering.
 
Agency Bonds
 
Twenty-five of our U.S. broker-dealer clients use our platform to trade agency bonds. Trading in agency bonds uses many of the same features available in our U.S. high-grade corporate bond offering.
 
Credit Default Swaps
 
We offer CDS index trading on our platform and also offer the capacity to trade lists of single-name CDS. In addition to the trading features, the index trading platform also offers STP connectivity for dealers and institutional investor clients. In 2009, we conformed our platform to the new standardized credit default swap calculation methodologies.
 
Information and Analytical Tools
 
Corporate BondTicker TM
 
Corporate BondTicker TM provides real-time FINRA TRACE data and enhances it with MarketAxess trade data and analytical tools to provide professional market participants with a comprehensive set of corporate bond price information. The data include trade time and sales information, including execution prices, as well as MarketAxess-estimated spread-to-Treasuries, for trades disseminated by the FINRA TRACE system. The data also include actual execution prices and spread-to-Treasury levels for U.S. high-grade corporate bond trades executed on the MarketAxess platform. Corporate BondTicker TM allows institutional investors to search for and sort bonds based upon specific criteria, such as volume, time/date of transaction, spread change, issuer or security. This search function allows institutional investors to compile information relating to potential securities trades in a fraction of the time that it takes to manually compile this information from disparate sources or other electronic databases, including direct TRACE feeds. Corporate BondTicker TM also offers end-of-day CDS pricing data provided by Credit Market Analysis Ltd. End-of-day screening tools combine the CDS data with market data from cash bonds and equities to provide relative value analysis to our clients. In addition, Corporate BondTicker TM provides independent third-party credit research as well as indicative prices for secondary markets in loans and CDS.
 
TRACE facilitates the mandatory reporting of over-the-counter secondary market transactions in eligible fixed-income securities. All broker-dealers that are FINRA member firms have an obligation to report transactions in corporate bonds to TRACE under a set of rules approved by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). FINRA then publicly disseminates a portion of this data, which is available free of charge on a delayed basis through the FINRA website or available immediately for a set fee.
 
Corporate BondTicker TM is integrated directly into the MarketAxess electronic trading platform and can be seamlessly accessed, either when viewing securities inventory or when launching an inquiry. Corporate BondTicker tm is also available through the Internet for non-trading professional market participants, including, among others, research analysts and rating agencies, who can log in and access the information via an easy-to-use browser-based interface.
 
We provide Corporate BondTicker TM as an ancillary service to our trading clients and also to other industry participants. We derive revenues from our Corporate BondTicker TM service by charging for seat licenses per user at our broker-dealer and institutional investor clients, through distribution agreements with other information service providers and through bulk data sales to third parties. Seat license fees are waived for clients that transact a sufficient volume of trades through MarketAxess.
 
Additional analytical capabilities of our information services offerings aim to provide clients with more information regarding bond prices and market activity, including asset swap spreads, turnover percentage and liquidity ratios. These statistics measure a security’s trading activity relative to its amount outstanding and relative


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to the overall market, respectively, providing an additional perspective on relative liquidity. In addition, we provide pricing measures to help institutional investors better assess the relative value of a corporate bond, providing more consistent relative pricing information for institutional investors, such as offering spread data versus the interest rate swap curve and versus the U.S. Treasury curve. Users are also able to download a variety of MarketAxess-compiled trade reports containing a comprehensive review of trading activity. Corporate BondTicker TM is currently the source of corporate bond trading information for The Wall Street Journal.
 
We also offer a comprehensive set of reports designed to review and monitor credit trading activity for institutional investor clients. It utilizes extensive TRACE information and has a flexible interface to run and save reports in a variety of formats for both compliance and management reporting. For example, the best execution report provides a view of the savings generated by trading on our electronic trading platform and offers a quantitative measure of the value of price discovery from multiple dealers. The report allows clients to monitor performance against their own best execution policy. Our compliance product provides a printed history of each inquiry submitted through the MarketAxess trading platform.
 
My Portfolio
 
Institutional investors are able to upload their corporate bond portfolio to our electronic trading platform utilizing the “My Portfolio” trading feature. Institutional investors who utilize “My Portfolio” benefit from the ability to automatically match inventory on our platform to bonds held in their portfolio, allowing them to more efficiently launch an inquiry and transact in these securities. Users of this feature can also directly access Corporate BondTicker tm to obtain the trading history of the securities in their portfolio.
 
Straight-Through Processing
 
Straight-through processing refers to the integration of systems and processes to automate the trade process from end-to-end — trade execution, confirmation and settlement — without the need for manual intervention. There are two elements of straight-through processing: internal straight-through processing and external straight-through processing. Internal straight-through processing relates to the trade and settlement processes that are internal to an industry participant. For example, in the case of an institutional investor, this includes authorization of orders, placement of orders with broker-dealers, receipt of execution details and allocation of trades. External straight-through processing refers to connecting seamlessly to all external counterparts in the trading and settlement process.
 
Automation by way of straight-through processing improves efficiency throughout the trade cycle. We provide broker-dealers and institutional investors with a range of tools that facilitate straight-through processing, including order upload, easy-to-use online allocation tools and pre- and post-trade messaging features that enable institutional investors to communicate electronically between front- and back-office systems, thereby integrating the order, portfolio management and accounting systems of our broker-dealer and institutional investor clients in real time. Our straight-through processing tools can be customized to meet specific needs of clients. We continue to build industry partnerships to assist our clients in creating connectivity throughout the trade cycle. Through these partnerships, we are increasingly providing solutions that can quickly be deployed within our clients’ trading operations.
 
Usage of our straight-through processing tools increased significantly during the last several years. The number of investor client STP connections increased to 210 as of December 31, 2009 from 134 as of December 31, 2007. In our U.S. high-grade corporate bond business between 2006 and 2009, the number of trades completed through our straight-through processing capabilities increased from 32,056 to 95,169. The number of online allocations increased from 83,501 to 166,161 between 2006 and 2009.
 
Dealer API
 
We offer Application Programming Interface (“API”) services to our broker-dealer clients for pre-trade, trade negotiation and post-trade services. This allows for straight-through processing, which improves efficiency and reduces errors in processing.


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Technology Services
 
In November 2007, we formed a new subsidiary company, MarketAxess Technologies Inc., which acquired TWS, a financial software and technology services company focused on providing gateway adapters to connect order management and trading systems to fixed-income trading venues.
 
In March 2008, we acquired Greenline, an Illinois-based provider of integration, testing and management solutions for FIX related products and services. The FIX protocol is a messaging standard developed specifically for the real-time electronic exchange of securities transaction information. Greenline’s CertiFIX product enables firms to provide a reliable FIX certification environment for their trading counterparties. The VeriFIX product is a testing suite that allows firms to thoroughly test counterparty FIX interfaces, protocol formats and supported messages. Greenline’s MagniFIX product allows firms to monitor their enterprise-wide FIX installations on a real-time basis. In addition, Greenline provides strategic consulting and custom development for their clients.
 
We also provide technology consulting and customized development services to our clients that leverage our trading technology expertise and our existing technology solutions. Fees for such services are charged based upon the complexity and extent of the services provided.
 
Sales and Marketing
 
We promote our products and services using a variety of direct and indirect sales and marketing strategies. Our sales force is responsible for client acquisition activity and for increasing use of our platform by our existing clients. Their goal is to train and support existing and new clients on how to use the system and to educate them as to the benefits of utilizing an electronic fixed-income trading platform. We employ various strategies, including advertising, direct marketing, promotional mailings and participation in industry conferences, to increase awareness of our brand and our electronic trading platform. For example, we have worked with The Wall Street Journal to establish Corporate BondTicker TM as the source of information for its daily corporate bond and high-yield tables.
 
Competition
 
The electronic trading industry is highly competitive and we expect competition to intensify in the future. We face five main areas of competition:
 
  •  Telephone — We compete with bond trading business conducted over the telephone between broker-dealers and their institutional investor clients. Institutional investors have historically purchased fixed-income securities by telephoning bond sales professionals at one or more broker-dealers and inquiring about the price and availability of individual bonds. This remains the manner in which the majority of corporate bonds are still traded between institutional investors and broker-dealers.
 
  •  E-mail — We compete with bond trading business conducted via e-mail between broker-dealers and their institutional investor clients. E-mail provides an efficient means of initiating product and price discovery with a large universe of potential trading partners.
 
  •  Other electronic trading platforms — There are numerous other electronic trading platforms currently in existence. These include: Thomson TradeWeb, a multi-dealer to institutional investor trading platform that has historically focused on government bond trading; Bloomberg, which provides electronic trading functionality; and the New York Stock Exchange, which launched a retail corporate bond trading platform in April 2007. In addition, some broker-dealers operate proprietary electronic trading systems that enable institutional investors to trade directly with a broker-dealer over an electronic medium. We believe that we are currently the only platform primarily focused on multi-party disclosed trading of credit products between broker-dealers and institutional investors, though others have or may seek to expand their product offerings to compete in this market. Additionally, as we expand our business into new products, we will likely come into more direct competition with other electronic trading platforms or firms offering traditional services.
 
  •  Market data and information vendors — Several large market data and information providers currently have a data and analytics relationship with virtually every institutional firm. Some of these entities, including Bloomberg, currently offer varying forms of electronic trading of fixed-income securities, mostly on a


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  single-dealer basis. Some of these entities have announced their intention to expand their electronic trading platforms or to develop new platforms. These entities are currently direct competitors to our information services business and may in the future become direct competitors to our electronic trading platform.
 
  •  Technology vendors — We compete with numerous providers of FIX message management tools and connectivity solutions. The market for our technology products and services is fragmented and includes FIX engine providers, testing, monitoring, certification and professional services firms and in-house technology and development groups at virtually every institutional firm.
 
Competitors, including companies in which some of our broker-dealer clients have invested, have developed electronic trading platforms or have announced their intention to explore the development of electronic trading platforms that compete or will compete with us. Furthermore, our broker-dealer clients have made, and may in the future make investments in or enter into agreements with other businesses that directly or indirectly compete with us.
 
In general, we compete on the basis of a number of key factors, including:
 
  •  broad network of broker-dealer and institutional investor clients using our electronic trading platform;
 
  •  liquidity provided by the participating broker-dealers;
 
  •  magnitude and frequency of price improvement;
 
  •  facilitating the quality and speed of execution;
 
  •  compliance benefits;
 
  •  total transaction costs;
 
  •  technology capabilities, including the reliability and ease of use of our electronic trading platform; and
 
  •  range of products and services offered.
 
We believe that we compete favorably with respect to these factors and continue to proactively build technology solutions that serve the needs of the credit markets.
 
Our competitive position is also enhanced by the familiarity and integration of our broker-dealer and institutional investor clients with our electronic trading platform and other systems. We have focused on the unique aspects of the credit markets we serve in the development of our platform, working closely with our clients to provide a system that is suited to their needs.
 
Our broker-dealer clients have invested in building API’s with us for inventory contributions, electronic trading, government bond benchmark pricing and post-trade messaging. We believe that we have successfully built deep roots with our broker-dealer clients, increasing our level of service to them while at the same time increasing their commitment to our services.
 
Furthermore, 210 of our institutional investor clients have built interfaces to enable them to communicate electronically between our platform and their order, portfolio management and accounting systems. We believe that this increases the reliance of these institutional investor clients on our services and creates significant competitive barriers to entry.
 
Technology
 
The design and quality of our technology are critical to our growth and our ability to execute our business strategy. Our electronic trading platform has been designed with secure, scalable client-server architecture that makes broad use of distributed computing to achieve speed, reliability and fault tolerance. The platform is built on industry-standard technologies and has been designed to handle many multiples of our current trading volume.
 
All critical server-side components, primarily our networks, application servers and databases, have backup equipment running in the event that the main equipment fails. This offers fully redundant system capacity to maximize uptime and minimize the potential for loss of transaction data in the event of an internal failure. We also seek to minimize the impact of external failures by automatically recovering connections in the event of a


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communications failure. The majority of our broker-dealer clients have dedicated high-speed T-1 communication lines to our network in order to provide fast data transfer. Our security measures include industry-standard communications encryption.
 
We have designed our application with an easy-to-use, Windows-based interface. Through a secure, single sign-on, our clients are able to access our electronic trading platform. Clients are also able to execute transactions over our platform directly from their order management systems. We provide users an automatic software update feature that does not require manual intervention.
 
Intellectual Property
 
We rely upon a combination of copyright, patent, trade secret and trademark laws, written agreements and common law to protect our proprietary technology, processes and other intellectual property. Our software code, elements of our electronic trading platform, Web site and other proprietary materials are protected by copyright laws. We received five patents in 2009 covering our most significant trading protocols and other aspects of our trading system technology, and other patents are pending.
 
The written agreements upon which we rely to protect our proprietary technology, processes and intellectual property include agreements designed to protect our trade secrets. Examples of these written agreements include third party nondisclosure agreements, employee nondisclosure and inventions assignment agreements, and agreements with customers, contractors and strategic partners. Other written agreements upon which we rely to protect our proprietary technology, processes and intellectual property take many forms and contain provisions related to patent, copyright, trademark or trade secret rights.
 
We have obtained U.S. federal registration of the MarketAxess ® name and logo, and the same mark and logo have been registered in several foreign jurisdictions. We have pending registrations for the MarketAxess ® name and logo in several other foreign jurisdictions. In addition, we have obtained U.S. federal registration for the marks AutoSpotting ® , BondLink ® , FrontPage ® , Actives ® , DealerAxess ® and associated designs and have a number of other registered trademarks, service marks and trademark applications. Corporate BondTicker TM is a trademark we use, but it has not been registered.
 
In addition to our efforts to register our intellectual property, we believe that factors such as the technological and creative skills of our personnel, new product and service developments, frequent enhancements and reliability with respect to our services are essential to establishing and maintaining a technology and market leadership position.
 
Government Regulation
 
The securities industry and financial markets in the U.S. and elsewhere are subject to extensive regulation. As a matter of public policy, regulatory bodies in the U.S. and the rest of the world are charged with safeguarding the integrity of the securities and other financial markets and with protecting the interests of investors participating in those markets. Our active broker-dealer subsidiaries fall within the scope of their regulations.
 
Regulation of the U.S. Securities Industry and Broker-Dealers
 
In the U.S., the SEC is the governmental agency responsible for the administration of the federal securities laws. One of our U.S. subsidiaries, MarketAxess Corporation, is registered with the SEC as a broker-dealer. It is also a member of FINRA, a self-regulatory organization to which most broker-dealers belong. In addition, MarketAxess Corporation is a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation, which provides certain protection for clients’ accounts in the event of a liquidation of a broker-dealer to the extent any such accounts are held by the broker-dealer.
 
Additionally, MarketAxess Corporation is registered with certain states and the District of Columbia as a broker-dealer. The individual states and the District of Columbia are responsible for the administration of their respective “blue sky” laws, rules and regulations.


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Regulation of the Non-U.S. Securities Industries and Investment Service Providers
 
The securities industry and financial markets in the U.K., the European Union and elsewhere are subject to extensive regulation. MarketAxess Europe Limited may fall within the scope of those regulations depending upon the extent to which it is characterized as providing a regulated investment service.
 
Our principal regulator in the U.K. is the FSA. Our subsidiary, MarketAxess Europe Limited, is registered as a Multilateral Trading Facility (“MTF”) with the FSA.
 
The securities industry in the member states of the European Union is regulated by agencies in each member state. European Union measures provide for the mutual recognition of regulatory agencies and of prudential supervision making possible the grant of a single authorization for providers of investment services, which, in general, is valid throughout the European Union. As an FSA-approved MTF, MarketAxess Europe Limited receives the benefit of this authorization.
 
Our Canadian subsidiary, MarketAxess Canada Limited, is registered as an Alternative Trading System under the Securities Act of Ontario and is a member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada.
 
Employees
 
As of December 31, 2009, we had 212 employees, 178 of whom were based in the U.S. and 34 of whom were based outside of the U.S., principally in the U.K. None of our employees is represented by a labor union. We consider our relationships with our employees to be good and have not experienced any interruptions of operations due to labor disagreements.
 
Company Information
 
Our Internet website address is www.marketaxess.com. Through our Internet website, we will make available, free of charge, the following reports as soon as reasonably practicable after electronically filing them with, or furnishing them to, the SEC: our annual report on Form 10-K; our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q; our current reports on Form 8-K; and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Our Proxy Statements for our Annual Meetings are also available through our Internet website. Our Internet website and the information contained therein or connected thereto are not intended to be incorporated into this Annual Report on Form 10-K. You may also obtain copies of our reports without charge by writing to:
 
MarketAxess Holdings Inc.
299 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10171
Attn: Investor Relations
 
Our Board of Directors has standing Audit, Compensation, Investment, and Nominating and Corporate Governance Committees. Each of these committees has a written charter approved by our Board of Directors. Our Board of Directors has also adopted a set of Corporate Governance Guidelines. Copies of each committee charter, along with the Corporate Governance Guidelines, are also posted on our website.
 
You may read and copy any document we file with the SEC at the SEC’s public reference room at 100 F Street, NE, Room 1580, Washington, DC 20549. Please call the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330 for information on the public reference room. The SEC maintains an Internet website that contains annual, quarterly and current reports, proxy and information statements and other information that issuers (including the Company) file electronically with the SEC. The SEC’s internet website is www.sec.gov.
 
We have obtained federal registration of the MarketAxess ® name and logo, as well as for the marks Auto-Spotting ® , BondLink ® , Actives ® , FrontPage ® and DealerAxess ® . We also have a number of other registered trademarks, service mark applications and trademark applications. Other trademarks and service marks appearing in this annual report on Form 10-K are the property of their respective holders.


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Item 1A.    Risk Factors.
 
Risks Related to Our Business
 
We face substantial competition that could reduce our market share and harm our financial performance.
 
The fixed-income securities industry generally, and the electronic financial services markets in which we operate in particular, are highly competitive, and we expect competition to intensify in the future. We will continue to compete with bond trading conducted directly between broker-dealers and their institutional investor clients over the telephone or electronically. In addition, our current and prospective competitors are numerous and include:
 
  •  other multi-dealer trading companies;
 
  •  market data and information vendors;
 
  •  securities and futures exchanges;
 
  •  inter-dealer brokerage firms;
 
  •  electronic communications networks;
 
  •  technology, software, information and media or other companies that have existing commercial relationships with broker-dealers or institutional investors; and
 
  •  other electronic marketplaces that are not currently in the securities business.
 
Many of our current and potential competitors are more established and substantially larger than we are and have substantially greater market presence, as well as greater financial, technical, marketing and other resources. These competitors may aggressively reduce their pricing to enter into market segments in which we have a leadership position today, potentially subsidizing any losses with profits from trading in other fixed-income or equity securities. In addition, many of our competitors offer a wider range of services, have broader name recognition and have larger customer bases than we do. Some of them may be able to respond more quickly to new or evolving opportunities, technologies and customer requirements than we can and may be able to undertake more extensive promotional activities.
 
Any combination of our competitors may enter into joint ventures or consortia to provide services similar to those provided by us. Current and new competitors can launch new platforms at a relatively low cost. Others may acquire the capabilities necessary to compete with us through acquisitions. We expect that we will potentially compete with a variety of companies with respect to each product or service we offer. If we are not able to compete successfully in the future, our business, financial condition and results of operations would be adversely affected.
 
Neither the sustainability of our current level of business nor any potential growth can be assured. Even if we do experience growth, we cannot assure you that we will grow profitably.
 
The success of our business strategy depends, in part, on our ability to maintain and expand the network of broker-dealer and institutional investor clients that use our electronic trading platform. Our business strategy also depends on increasing the use of our platform by these clients. Individuals at broker-dealers or institutional investors may have conflicting interests, which may discourage their use of our platform.
 
Our growth is also dependent on our ability to diversify our revenue base. We currently derive approximately half of our revenues from secondary trading in U.S. high-grade corporate bonds. Our long-term business strategy is dependent on expanding our service offerings and increasing our revenues from other fixed-income products and other sources. We cannot assure you that our efforts will be successful or result in increased revenues or continued profitability.


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Because we operate in a rapidly evolving industry, it is difficult to evaluate our business and prospects.
 
We face risks and difficulties frequently experienced by companies operating in rapidly evolving industries, such as the electronic financial services industry. These risks and difficulties include, but are not limited to, our ability to:
 
  •  attract and retain broker-dealers and institutional investors on a cost-effective basis;
 
  •  expand and enhance reliable and cost-effective product and service offerings to our clients;
 
  •  respond effectively to competitive pressures;
 
  •  diversify our sources of revenues;
 
  •  maintain adequate control of our expenses;
 
  •  operate, support, expand and develop our operations, website, software, communications and other systems;
 
  •  manage growth in personnel and operations;
 
  •  increase awareness of our brand or market positioning;
 
  •  expand our sales and marketing programs; and
 
  •  respond to regulatory changes or demands.
 
If we are unsuccessful in addressing these risks or in executing our business strategy, our business, financial condition and results of operations may suffer.
 
Decreases in trading volumes in the fixed-income markets generally or on our platform would harm our business and profitability.
 
We have experienced significant decreases in overall trading volume in past periods, and may experience decreases in trading volume in the future. Declines in the overall volume of fixed-income securities trading and in market liquidity generally, as well as declines in interest rate volatility, result in lower revenues from commissions for trades executed on our electronic trading platform and fees generated from related activities.
 
Likewise, decreases in our share of the segments of the fixed-income trading markets in which we operate, or shifts in trading volume to segments of clients which we have not penetrated, could result in lower trading volume on our platform and, consequently, lower commissions and other revenue. During periods of increased volatility in credit markets, the use of electronic trading platforms by market participants may decrease dramatically as institutional investors seek to obtain additional information during the trade process through conversations with broker-dealers. In addition, during rapidly moving markets, broker-dealers are less likely to post prices electronically.
 
A decline in trading volumes on our platform for any reason may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
 
We may enter into new fee plans, the impact of which may be difficult to evaluate.
 
We anticipate that from time to time we will introduce new fee plans for the U.S. high-grade corporate bond, Eurobond and other market segments in which we operate. Any new fee plan may include different fee structures or provide volume incentives.
 
We cannot assure you that any new fee plans will result in an increase in the volume of transactions effected on our platform or that our revenues will increase as a result of the implementation of any such fee plans. Furthermore, resistance to the new fee plans by our broker-dealer or institutional investor clients or a reduction in the number of dealers participating on our platform could have an adverse impact on our distribution fees and otherwise have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.


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We are exposed to risks resulting from non-performance by counterparties to certain transactions executed between our clients in which we act as an intermediary in matching back-to back bond trades.
 
We execute certain bond transactions between and among institutional investor and broker-dealer clients on a riskless principal basis by serving as counterparty to both the buyer and the seller in matching back-to-back trades, which are then settled through a third-party clearing organization. MarketAxess Corporation, our U.S. subsidiary, acts as intermediary on a riskless principal basis in these bond transactions by serving as counterparty to the two clients involved. Settlement typically occurs within one to three trading days after the trade date. Cash settlement of the transaction occurs upon receipt or delivery of the underlying instrument that was traded.
 
We are exposed to credit risk in our role as trading counterparty to our clients executing bond trades on our platform. We are exposed to the risk that third parties that owe us money, securities or other assets will not perform their obligations. These parties may default on their obligations to us due to bankruptcy, lack of liquidity, operational failure or other reasons. Adverse movements in the prices of securities that are the subject of these transactions can increase our risk. Where the unmatched position or failure to deliver is prolonged there may also be regulatory capital charges required to be taken by us. The policies and procedures we use to manage this credit risk are new and untested. There can be no assurance that these policies and procedures will effectively mitigate our exposure to credit risk.
 
We are dependent on our broker-dealer clients, who are not restricted from buying and selling fixed-income securities, directly or through their own proprietary or third-party platforms, with institutional investors.
 
We rely on our broker-dealer clients to provide product and liquidity on our electronic trading platform by posting bond prices on our platform for bonds in their inventory and responding to institutional investor client inquiries. The contractual obligations of our broker-dealer clients to us are minimal, non-exclusive and terminable by such clients. Our broker-dealer clients buy and sell fixed-income securities through traditional methods, including by telephone and e-mail messaging, and through other electronic trading platforms. Some of our broker-dealer clients have developed electronic trading networks which compete with us or have announced their intention to explore the development of such electronic trading networks, and most of our broker-dealer and institutional investor clients are involved in other ventures, including other electronic trading platforms or other distribution channels, as trading participants and/or as investors. These competing trading platforms may offer some features that we do not currently offer. Accordingly, there can be no assurance that such broker-dealers’ primary commitments will not be to one of our competitors.
 
Any reduction in the use of our electronic trading platform by our broker-dealer clients would reduce the number of different bond issues and the volume of trading in those bond issues on our platform, which could, in turn, reduce the use of our platform by our institutional investor clients. The occurrence of any of the foregoing may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
 
We derive a significant percentage of our total revenues, and an even greater percentage of our commissions, from broker-dealer clients who are also our stockholders.
 
We have historically earned a substantial portion of our commissions from broker-dealer clients that were our stockholders. For the year ended December 31, 2009, $14.1 million or 14.7% of our commissions, for the year ended December 31, 2008, $12.5 million or 17.0% of our commissions, and for the year ended December 31, 2007, $31.4 million or 39.2% of our commissions, were generated by these stockholder broker-dealer clients. None of our broker-dealer clients is contractually or otherwise obligated to continue to use our electronic trading platform. Reduced involvement of these broker-dealer clients due to the reduction in the level of their equity ownership may cause them to reduce or discontinue their use of our electronic trading platform and other services, which could negatively impact the use of our platform by our institutional investor clients. The loss of, or a significant reduction of, participation on our platform by these broker-dealer clients may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.


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We could lose significant sources of revenue and trading volume if we lose any of our significant institutional investor clients.
 
We rely on our institutional investor clients to launch inquiries over our trading platform. A limited number of such clients can account for a significant portion of our trading volume. The contractual obligations of our institutional investor clients to us are minimal, non-exclusive and terminable by such clients. Our institutional investor clients buy and sell fixed-income securities through traditional methods, including by telephone and e-mail messaging, and through other electronic trading platforms.
 
There can be no assurance that we will be able to retain our major institutional investor clients or that such clients will continue to use our trading platform. The loss of any major institutional investor client or any reduction in the use of our electronic trading platform by such clients could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
 
If we experience significant fluctuations in our operating results or fail to meet revenues and earnings expectations, our stock price may fall rapidly and without advance notice.
 
Due to the unpredictability of our industry and our evolving business model, we have and may continue to experience significant fluctuations in our operating results. We base our current and future expense levels and our investment plans on estimates of future revenues and future rate of growth. Our expenses and investments are, to a large extent, fixed and we expect that these expenses will increase in the future. We may not be able to adjust our spending quickly enough if our revenues fall short of our expectations.
 
Our revenues and operating results may also fluctuate due to other factors, including:
 
  •  our ability to retain existing broker-dealer and institutional investor clients and attract new broker-dealer and institutional investor clients;
 
  •  our ability to drive an increase in use of our electronic trading platform by new and existing broker-dealer and institutional investor clients;
 
  •  changes in our pricing policies;
 
  •  the introduction of new features on our electronic trading platform;
 
  •  the effectiveness of our sales force;
 
  •  new product and service introductions by our competitors;
 
  •  fluctuations in overall market trading volume;
 
  •  technical difficulties or interruptions in our service;
 
  •  general economic conditions in our geographic markets;
 
  •  additional investment in our services or operations; and
 
  •  regulatory compliance costs.
 
As a result, our operating results may fluctuate significantly on a quarterly basis, which could result in decreases in our stock price.
 
We may not be able to introduce enhanced versions of our electronic trading platform, new services and/or service enhancements in a timely or acceptable manner, which could harm our competitive position.
 
Our business environment is characterized by rapid technological change, changing and increasingly sophisticated client demands and evolving industry standards. Our future will depend on our ability to develop and introduce new features to, and new versions of, our electronic trading platform. The success of new features and versions depends on several factors, including the timely completion, introduction and market acceptance of the feature or version. In addition, the market for our electronic trading platform may be limited if prospective clients require customized features or functions that we are unable or unwilling to provide. If we are unable to anticipate


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and respond to the demand for new services, products and technologies and develop new features and enhanced versions of our electronic trading platform that achieve widespread levels of market acceptance on a timely and cost-effective basis, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
 
As we enter new markets, we may not be able to successfully attract clients and adapt our technology and marketing strategy for use in those markets.
 
Our strategy includes leveraging our electronic trading platform to enter new markets. We cannot assure you that we will be able to successfully adapt our proprietary software and technology for use in other markets. Even if we do adapt our software and technology, we cannot assure you that we will be able to attract clients and compete successfully in any such new markets. We cannot assure you that our marketing efforts or our pursuit of any of these opportunities will be successful. If these efforts are not successful, we may realize less than expected earnings, which in turn could result in a decrease in the market value of our common stock. Furthermore, these efforts may divert management attention or inefficiently utilize our resources.
 
Rapid market or technological changes may render our technology obsolete or decrease the attractiveness of our products and services to our broker-dealer and institutional investor clients.
 
We must continue to enhance and improve our electronic trading platform. The electronic financial services industry is characterized by significant structural changes, increasingly complex systems and infrastructures and new business models. If new industry standards and practices emerge, our existing technology, systems and electronic trading platform may become obsolete or our existing business may be harmed. Our future success will depend on our ability to:
 
  •  enhance our existing products and services;
 
  •  develop and/or license new products and technologies that address the increasingly sophisticated and varied needs of our broker-dealer and institutional investor clients and prospective clients; and
 
  •  respond to technological advances and emerging industry standards and practices on a cost-effective and timely basis.
 
Developing our electronic trading platform and other technology entails significant technical and business risks. We may use new technologies ineffectively or we may fail to adapt our electronic trading platform, information databases and network infrastructure to broker-dealer or institutional investor client requirements or emerging industry standards. For example, our electronic trading platform functionality that allows searches and inquiries on bond pricing and availability is a critical part of our service, and it may become out-of-date or insufficient from our broker-dealer clients’ or institutional investor clients’ perspective and in relation to the inquiry functionality of our competitors’ systems. If we face material delays in introducing new services, products and enhancements, our broker-dealer and institutional investor clients may forego the use of our products and use those of our competitors.
 
Further, the adoption of new Internet, networking or telecommunications technologies may require us to devote substantial resources to modify and adapt our services. We cannot assure you that we will be able to successfully implement new technologies or adapt our proprietary technology and transaction-processing systems to client requirements or emerging industry standards. We cannot assure you that we will be able to respond in a timely manner to changing market conditions or client requirements.
 
We depend on third-party suppliers for key products and services.
 
We rely on a number of third parties to supply elements of our trading, information and other systems, as well as computers and other equipment, and related support and maintenance. We cannot assure you that any of these providers will be able to continue to provide these services in an efficient, cost-effective manner, if at all, or that they will be able to adequately expand their services to meet our needs. If we are unable to make alternative arrangements for the supply of critical products or services in the event of a malfunction of a product or an


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interruption in or the cessation of service by an existing service provider, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely affected.
 
In particular, we depend on a third-party vendor for our corporate bond reference database. Disruptions in the services provided by that third party to us, including as a result of their inability or unwillingness to continue to license products that are critical to the success of our business, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
 
We also rely, and expect in the future to continue to rely, on third parties for various computer and communications systems, such as telephone companies, online service providers, data processors, and software and hardware vendors. Other third parties provide, for instance, our data center, telecommunications access lines and significant computer systems and software licensing, support and maintenance services. Any interruption in these or other third-party services or deterioration in their performance could impair the quality of our service. We cannot be certain of the financial viability of all of the third parties on which we rely.
 
We license software from third parties, much of which is integral to our electronic trading platform and our business. We also hire contractors to assist in the development, quality assurance testing and maintenance of our electronic trading platform and other systems. Continued access to these licensors and contractors on favorable contract terms or access to alternative software and information technology contractors is important to our operations. Adverse changes in any of these relationships could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
 
We attempt to negotiate favorable pricing, service, confidentiality and intellectual property ownership or licensing and other terms in our contracts with our service providers. These contracts usually have multi-year terms. However, there is no guarantee that these contracts will not terminate and that we will be able to negotiate successor agreements or agreements with alternate service providers on competitive terms. Further, the existing agreements may bind us for a period of time to terms and technology that become obsolete as our industry and our competitors advance their own operations and contracts.
 
Our success depends on maintaining the integrity of our electronic trading platform, systems and infrastructure; our computer systems may suffer failures, capacity constraints and business interruptions that could increase our operating costs and cause us to lose clients.
 
In order to be successful, we must provide reliable, real-time access to our electronic trading platform for our broker-dealer and institutional investor clients. If our electronic trading platform is hampered by slow delivery times, unreliable service or insufficient capacity, our broker-dealer and institutional investor clients may decide to stop using our platform, which would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
 
As our operations grow in both size and scope, we will need to improve and upgrade our electronic trading platform and infrastructure to accommodate potential increases in order message volume and trading volume, the trading practices of new and existing clients, regulatory changes and the development of new and enhanced trading platform features, functionalities and ancillary products and services. The expansion of our electronic trading platform and infrastructure has required, and will continue to require, substantial financial, operational and technical resources. These resources will typically need to be committed well in advance of any actual increase in trading volumes and order messages. We cannot assure you that our estimates of future trading volumes and order messages will be accurate or that our systems will always be able to accommodate actual trading volumes and order messages without failure or degradation of performance. Furthermore, we use new technologies to upgrade our established systems, and the development of these new technologies also entails technical, financial and business risks. We cannot assure you that we will successfully implement new technologies or adapt our existing electronic trading platform, technology and systems to the requirements of our broker-dealer and institutional investor clients or to emerging industry standards. The inability of our electronic trading platform to accommodate increasing trading volume and order messages would also constrain our ability to expand our business.


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We cannot assure you that we will not experience systems failures. Our electronic trading platform, computer and communication systems and other operations are vulnerable to damage, interruption or failure as a result of, among other things:
 
  •  irregular or heavy use of our electronic trading platform during peak trading times or at times of unusual market volatility;
 
  •  power or telecommunications failures, hardware failures or software errors;
 
  •  human error;
 
  •  computer viruses, acts of vandalism or sabotage (and resulting potential lapses in security), both internal and external;
 
  •  natural disasters, fires, floods or other acts of God;
 
  •  acts of war or terrorism or other armed hostility; and
 
  •  loss of support services from third parties, including those to whom we outsource aspects of our computer infrastructure critical to our business.
 
In the event that any of our systems, or those of our third-party providers, fail or operate slowly, it may cause any one or more of the following to occur:
 
  •  unanticipated disruptions in service to our clients;
 
  •  slower response times or delays in our clients’ trade execution;
 
  •  incomplete or inaccurate accounting, recording or processing of trades;
 
  •  financial losses and liabilities to clients;
 
  •  litigation or other claims against us, including formal complaints to industry regulatory organizations; and
 
  •  regulatory inquiries, proceedings or sanctions.
 
Any system failure that causes an interruption in service or decreases the responsiveness of our service, including failures caused by client error or misuse of our systems, could damage our reputation, business and brand name and lead our broker-dealer and institutional investor clients to decrease or cease their use of our electronic trading platform.
 
In these circumstances, our redundant systems or disaster recovery plans may not be adequate. Similarly, although many of our contracts with our service providers require them to have disaster recovery plans, we cannot be certain that these will be adequate or implemented properly. In addition, our business interruption insurance may not adequately compensate us for losses that may occur.
 
We also cannot assure you that we have sufficient personnel to properly respond to system problems. We internally support and maintain many of our computer systems and networks, including those underlying our electronic trading platform. Our failure to monitor or maintain these systems and networks or, if necessary, to find a replacement for this technology in a timely and cost-effective manner would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
 
If our security measures are breached and unauthorized access is obtained to our electronic trading platform, broker-dealers and institutional investors may become hesitant to use, or reduce or stop their use of, our trading platform.
 
Our electronic trading platform involves the storage and transmission of our clients’ proprietary information. The secure storage and transmission of confidential information over public networks is a critical element of our operations. Security breaches could expose us to a risk of loss of this information, litigation and possible liability. If our security measures are breached as a result of third-party action, employee error, malfeasance or otherwise, and, as a result, someone obtains unauthorized access to trading or other confidential information, our reputation could be damaged, our business may suffer and we could incur significant liability. Because techniques used to obtain


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unauthorized access or to sabotage computer systems change frequently and generally are not recognized until launched against a target, we may be unable to anticipate these techniques or to implement adequate preventive measures. If an actual, threatened or perceived breach of our security occurs, the market perception of the effectiveness of our security measures could be harmed and could cause our broker-dealer and institutional investor clients to reduce or stop their use of our electronic trading platform. We may be required to expend significant resources to protect against the threat of security breaches or to alleviate problems, including reputational harm and litigation, caused by any breaches. Although we intend to continue to implement industry-standard security measures, we cannot assure you that those measures will be sufficient.
 
We may not be able to protect our intellectual property rights or technology effectively, which would allow competitors to duplicate or replicate our electronic trading platform. This could adversely affect our ability to compete.
 
Intellectual property is critical to our success and ability to compete, and if we fail to protect our intellectual property rights adequately, our competitors might gain access to our technology. We rely primarily on a combination of patent, copyright, trademark and trade secret laws in the United States and other jurisdictions, as well as license agreements, third-party non-disclosure and other agreements and other contractual provisions and technical measures to protect our intellectual property rights. We attempt to negotiate beneficial intellectual property ownership provisions in our contracts and also require employees, consultants, advisors and collaborators to enter into confidentiality agreements in order to protect the confidentiality of our proprietary information. We have received five patents and have filed patent applications covering aspects of our technology and/or business, but can make no assurances that any such patents will protect our business and processes from competition or that the patents applied for will be issued. Additionally, laws and our contractual terms may not be sufficient to protect our technology from use or theft by third parties. For instance, a third party might reverse engineer or otherwise obtain and use our technology without our permission and without our knowledge, thereby infringing our rights and allowing competitors to duplicate or replicate our products. Furthermore, we cannot assure you that these protections will be adequate to prevent our competitors from independently developing technologies that are substantially equivalent or superior to our technology.
 
We may have legal or contractual rights that we could assert against illegal use of our intellectual property rights, but lawsuits claiming infringement or misappropriation are complex and expensive, and the outcome would not be certain. In addition, the laws of some countries in which we now or in the future provide our services may not protect software and intellectual property rights to the same extent as the laws of the United States.
 
Defending against intellectual property infringement or other claims could be expensive and disruptive to our business. If we are found to infringe the proprietary rights of others, we could be required to redesign our products, pay royalties or enter into license agreements with third parties.
 
In the technology industry, there is frequent litigation based on allegations of infringement or other violations of intellectual property rights. As the number of participants in our market increases and the number of patents and other intellectual property registrations increases, the possibility of an intellectual property claim against us grows. Although we have never been the subject of a material intellectual property dispute, we cannot assure you that a third party will not assert in the future that our technology or the manner in which we operate our business violates its intellectual property rights. From time to time, in the ordinary course of our business, we may become subject to legal proceedings and claims relating to the intellectual property rights of others, and we expect that third parties may assert intellectual property claims against us, particularly as we expand the complexity and scope of our business, the number of electronic trading platforms increases and the functionality of these platforms further overlaps. Any claims, whether with or without merit, could:
 
  •  be expensive and time-consuming to defend;
 
  •  prevent us from operating our business, or portions of our business;
 
  •  cause us to cease developing, licensing or using all or any part of our electronic trading platform that incorporates the challenged intellectual property;


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  •  require us to redesign our products or services, which may not be feasible;
 
  •  result in significant monetary liability;
 
  •  divert management’s attention and resources; and
 
  •  require us to pay royalties or enter into licensing agreements in order to obtain the right to use necessary technologies, which may not be possible on commercially reasonable terms.
 
We cannot assure you that third parties will not assert infringement claims against us in the future with respect to our electronic trading platform or any of our other current or future products or services or that any such assertion will not require us to cease providing such services or products, try to redesign our products or services, enter into royalty arrangements, if available, or engage in litigation that could be costly to us. Any of these events could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
 
If we acquire or invest in other businesses, products or technologies, we may be unable to integrate them with our business, our financial performance may be impaired or we may not realize the anticipated financial and strategic goals for any such transactions.
 
If appropriate opportunities present themselves, we may acquire or make investments in businesses, products or technologies that we believe are strategic. We may not be able to identify, negotiate or finance any future acquisition or investment successfully. Even if we do succeed in acquiring or investing in a business, product or technology, such acquisitions and investments involve a number of risks, including:
 
  •  we may find that the acquired company or assets do not further our business strategy, or that we overpaid for the company or assets, or the economic conditions underlying our acquisition decision may change;
 
  •  we may have difficulty integrating the acquired technologies or products with our existing electronic trading platform, products and services;
 
  •  we may have difficulty integrating the operations and personnel of the acquired business, or retaining the key personnel of the acquired business;
 
  •  there may be client confusion if our services overlap with those of the acquired company;
 
  •  our ongoing business and management’s attention may be disrupted or diverted by transition or integration issues and the complexity of managing geographically or culturally diverse enterprises;
 
  •  we may have difficulty maintaining uniform standards, controls, procedures and policies across locations;
 
  •  an acquisition may result in litigation from terminated employees or third parties; and
 
  •  we may experience significant problems or liabilities associated with product quality, technology and legal contingencies.
 
These factors could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows, particularly in the case of a larger acquisition or multiple acquisitions in a short period of time. From time to time, we may enter into negotiations for acquisitions or investments that are not ultimately consummated. Such negotiations could result in significant diversion of management time, as well as out-of-pocket costs.
 
The consideration paid in connection with an investment or acquisition also affects our financial results. If we were to proceed with one or more significant acquisitions in which the consideration included cash, we could be required to use a substantial portion of our available cash to consummate any acquisition. To the extent we issue shares of capital stock or other rights to purchase capital stock, including options or other rights, existing stockholders may be diluted and earnings per share may decrease. In addition, acquisitions may result in the incurrence of debt, large one-time write-offs, such as of acquired in-process research and development costs, and restructuring charges. They may also result in goodwill and other intangible assets that are subject to impairment tests, which could result in future impairment charges as was the case in 2008 with the write-down of certain TWS-related intangible assets.


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We may be limited in our use of our U.S. net operating loss carryforwards.
 
As of December 31, 2009, we had U.S. net operating loss carryforwards of approximately $82.4 million that will begin to expire in 2019. A net operating loss carryforward enables a company to apply net operating losses incurred during a current period against future periods’ profits in order to reduce tax liability in those future periods.
 
Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code provides that when a company undergoes an “ownership change,” that company’s use of its net operating losses is limited annually in each subsequent year. An “ownership change” occurs when, as of any testing date, the sum of the increases in ownership of each shareholder that owns five percent or more of the value of a company’s stock as compared to that shareholder’s lowest percentage ownership during the preceding three-year period exceeds 50 percentage points. For purposes of this rule, certain shareholders who own less than five percent of a company’s stock are aggregated and treated as a single five-percent shareholder.
 
The issuance or repurchase of a significant number of shares of stock or purchases or sales of stock by significant shareholders could result in an additional “ownership change.” For, example, we may issue a substantial number of shares of our stock in connection with offerings, acquisitions and other transactions in the future and we could repurchase a significant number of shares in connection with a stock repurchase program, although no assurance can be given that any such offering, acquisition, other transaction or repurchase program will be undertaken. In addition, the exercise of outstanding options to purchase shares of our common stock may require us to issue additional shares of our common stock. The extent of the actual future use of our U.S. net operating loss carryforwards is subject to inherent uncertainty because it depends on the amount of otherwise taxable income we may earn. We cannot give any assurance that we will have sufficient taxable income in future years to use any of our federal net operating loss carryforwards before they would otherwise expire.
 
We are dependent on our management team, and the loss of any key member of this team may prevent us from implementing our business plan in a timely manner.
 
Our success depends largely upon the continued services of our executive officers and other key personnel, particularly Richard M. McVey, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of our Board of Directors. The terms of Mr. McVey’s employment agreement with us do not require him to continue to work for us and allow him to terminate his employment at any time, subject to certain notice requirements and forfeiture of non-vested equity options, performance shares and restricted stock. Any loss or interruption of Mr. McVey’s services or that of one or more of our other executive officers or key personnel could result in our inability to manage our operations effectively and/or pursue our business strategy.
 
Because competition for our employees is intense, we may not be able to attract and retain the highly skilled employees we need to support our business.
 
We strive to provide high-quality services that will allow us to establish and maintain long-term relationships with our broker-dealer and institutional investor clients. Our ability to provide these services and maintain these relationships, as well as our ability to execute our business plan generally, depends in large part upon our employees. We must attract and retain highly qualified personnel. Competition for these personnel is intense, especially for software engineers with extensive experience in designing and developing software and Internet-related services, hardware engineers, technicians, product managers and senior sales executives.
 
The market for qualified personnel is increasingly competitive as the financial industry continues to recover and as electronic commerce continues to experience growth. Many of the companies with which we compete for experienced personnel have greater resources than we have and are longer established in the marketplace. In addition, in making employment decisions, particularly in the Internet, high-technology and financial services industries, job candidates often consider the total compensation package offered, including the value of the stock-based compensation they are to receive in connection with their employment. Significant volatility in the price of our common stock may adversely affect our ability to attract or retain key employees. The expensing of stock-based compensation may discourage us from granting the size or type of stock-based compensation that job candidates may require to join our company.


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We cannot assure you that we will be successful in our efforts to recruit and retain the required personnel. The failure to attract new personnel or to retain and motivate our current personnel may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
 
Termination of employees may result in additional costs
 
We are currently involved in an arbitration case filed by a former employee. We believe that the claims are without merit and we intend to vigorously defend against them. However, an adverse settlement or judgment related to these or similar types of claims may have an adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations. Regardless of the outcome of this case, we may incur significant expense and management time dealing with these and other such claims. In addition, we have paid severance amounts in connection with the involuntary termination of employees in the past and may offer severance packages in connection with future involuntary terminations, if any.
 
Our business is subject to increasingly extensive government and other regulation and our relationships with our broker-dealer clients may subject us to increasing regulatory scrutiny.
 
The financial industry is extensively regulated by many governmental agencies and self-regulatory organizations, including the SEC and FINRA. As a matter of public policy, these regulatory bodies are responsible for safeguarding the integrity of the securities and other financial markets and protecting the interests of investors in those markets. These regulatory bodies have broad powers to promulgate and interpret, investigate and sanction non-compliance with their laws, rules and regulations.
 
Most aspects of our broker-dealer subsidiaries are highly regulated, including:
 
  •  the way we deal with our clients;
 
  •  our capital requirements;
 
  •  our financial and regulatory reporting practices;
 
  •  required record-keeping and record retention procedures;
 
  •  the licensing of our employees; and
 
  •  the conduct of our directors, officers, employees and affiliates.
 
We cannot assure you that we and/or our directors, officers and employees will be able to fully comply with these laws, rules and regulations. If we fail to comply with any of these laws, rules or regulations, we may be subject to censure, fines, cease-and-desist orders, suspension of our business, suspensions of personnel or other sanctions, including revocation of our membership in FINRA and registration as a broker-dealer.
 
We have two major operating subsidiaries, MarketAxess Corporation and MarketAxess Europe Limited. MarketAxess Corporation and MarketAxess Europe Limited are subject to U.S. and U.K. regulations as a registered broker-dealer and as a multilateral trading facility, respectively, which prohibit repayment of borrowings from the Company or affiliates, paying cash dividends, making loans to the Company or affiliates or otherwise entering into transactions that result in a significant reduction in regulatory net capital or financial resources, without prior notification to or approval from such subsidiary’s principal regulator.
 
In addition, as a result of the global financial crisis and other recent events in the financial industry, there is a greater likelihood of legislative and regulatory action to increase government oversight of the financial services industry. Changes in laws or regulations or in governmental policies, including the rules relating to the maintenance of specific levels of net capital applicable to our broker-dealer subsidiaries, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Our industry has been and is subject to continuous regulatory changes and may become subject to new regulations or changes in the interpretation or enforcement of existing regulations, which could require us to incur significant compliance costs or cause the development of affected markets to become impractical. In addition, as we expand our business into new markets, it is likely that we will be subject to additional laws, rules and regulations. We cannot predict the extent to which any future regulatory changes may adversely affect our business and operations.


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Our disclosed trading system has not been subjected to regulation as an alternative trading system under Regulation ATS. A determination by the SEC to treat our trading platform as an alternative trading system subject to Regulation ATS would subject us to additional reporting obligations and other limitations on the conduct of our business, many of which could be material. Our anonymous dealer-to-dealer trading service, DealerAxess ® , is regulated as an alternative trading system subject to Regulation ATS.
 
As an enterprise founded and historically controlled by broker-dealer that compete with each other, we may be subject to ongoing regulatory scrutiny of our business to a degree that is not likely to be experienced by some of our competitors. At any time, the outcome of investigations and other regulatory scrutiny could lead to compulsory changes to our business model, conduct or practices, or our relationships with our broker-dealer clients, or additional governmental scrutiny or private lawsuits against us, any of which could materially harm our revenues, impair our ability to provide access to the broadest range of fixed-income securities and impact our ability to grow and compete effectively, particularly as we implement new initiatives designed to enhance our competitive position.
 
The activities and consequences described above may result in significant distractions to our management and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
 
We expect to continue to expand our operations outside of the United States; however, we may face special economic and regulatory challenges that we may not be able to meet.
 
We operate an electronic trading platform in Europe and we plan to further expand our operations throughout Europe and other regions. There are certain risks inherent in doing business in international markets, particularly in the financial services industry, which is heavily regulated in many jurisdictions. These risks include:
 
  •  less developed technological infrastructures and generally higher costs, which could result in lower client acceptance of our services or clients having difficulty accessing our trading platform;
 
  •  difficulty in obtaining the necessary regulatory approvals for planned expansion, if at all, and the possibility that any approvals that are obtained may impose restrictions on the operation of our business;
 
  •  the inability to manage and coordinate the various regulatory requirements of multiple jurisdictions that are constantly evolving and subject to unexpected change;
 
  •  difficulties in staffing and managing foreign operations;
 
  •  fluctuations in exchange rates;
 
  •  reduced or no protection for intellectual property rights;
 
  •  seasonal reductions in business activity; and
 
  •  potentially adverse tax consequences.
 
Our inability to manage these risks effectively could adversely affect our business and limit our ability to expand our international operations, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
 
We cannot predict our future capital needs or our ability to obtain additional financing if we need it.
 
Our business is dependent upon the availability of adequate funding and regulatory capital under applicable regulatory requirements. Although we believe that our available cash resources are sufficient to meet our presently anticipated liquidity needs and capital expenditure requirements for at least the next 12 months, we may in the future need to raise additional funds to, among other things:
 
  •  support more rapid growth of our business;
 
  •  develop new or enhanced services and products;
 
  •  fund operating losses;
 
  •  respond to competitive pressures;


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  •  acquire complementary companies or technologies;
 
  •  enter into strategic alliances;
 
  •  increase the regulatory net capital necessary to support our operations; or
 
  •  respond to unanticipated capital requirements.
 
We may not be able to obtain additional financing, if needed, in amounts or on terms acceptable to us, if at all. If sufficient funds are not available or are not available on terms acceptable to us, our ability to fund our expansion, take advantage of acquisition opportunities, develop or enhance our services or products, or otherwise respond to competitive pressures would be significantly limited. These limitations could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
 
We are subject to the risks of litigation and securities laws liability.
 
Many aspects of our business, and the businesses of our clients, involve substantial risks of liability. Dissatisfied clients may make claims regarding quality of trade execution, improperly settled trades, mismanagement or even fraud against their service providers. We and our clients may become subject to these claims as the result of failures or malfunctions of our electronic trading platform and services provided by us. We could incur significant legal expenses defending claims, even those without merit. An adverse resolution of any lawsuits or claims against us could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
 
Risks Related to Our Industry
 
If the use of electronic trading platforms does not increase, we may not be able to achieve our business objectives.
 
The success of our business plan depends in part on our ability to create an electronic trading platform for a wide range of fixed-income products. Historically, fixed-income securities markets operated through telephone communications between institutional investors and broker-dealers. The utilization of our products and services depends on the acceptance, adoption and growth of electronic means of trading securities. We cannot assure you that the growth and acceptance of electronic means of trading securities will continue.
 
Economic, political and market factors beyond our control could reduce demand for our services and harm our business, and our profitability could suffer.
 
The global financial services business is, by its nature, risky and volatile and is directly affected by many national and international factors that are beyond our control. Any one of these factors may cause a substantial decline in the U.S. and/or global financial services markets, resulting in reduced trading volume. These events could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. These factors include:
 
  •  economic and political conditions in the United States and elsewhere;
 
  •  adverse market conditions, including unforeseen market closures or other disruptions in trading;
 
  •  consolidation or contraction in the number of broker-dealers;
 
  •  actual or threatened acts of war or terrorism or other armed hostilities;
 
  •  concerns over inflation and weakening consumer confidence levels;
 
  •  the availability of cash for investment by mutual funds and other wholesale and retail investors;
 
  •  the level and volatility of interest and foreign currency exchange rates; and
 
  •  legislative and regulatory changes.


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Any one or more of these factors may contribute to reduced activity and prices in the securities markets generally. Our revenues and profitability are likely to decline significantly during periods of stagnant economic conditions or low trading volume in the U.S. and global financial markets.
 
Risks Related to Our Common Stock
 
Market volatility may cause our stock price and the value of your investment to decline.
 
The market price of our common stock may be significantly affected by volatility in the markets in general. The market price of our common stock likely will continue to fluctuate in response to factors including the following:
 
  •  the other risk factors described in this annual report on Form 10-K;
 
  •  prevailing interest rates;
 
  •  the market for similar securities;
 
  •  additional issuances of common stock;
 
  •  general economic conditions; and
 
  •  our financial condition, performance and prospects, including our ability or inability to meet analyst expectations.
 
Most of these factors are beyond our control. In addition, the stock markets in general, including the NASDAQ Global Select Market, have experienced and continue to experience significant price and volume fluctuations. These fluctuations have resulted in volatility in the market prices of securities for companies such as ours that often has been unrelated or disproportionate to changes in the operating performance of the affected companies. These broad market and industry fluctuations may affect adversely the market price of our common stock regardless of our operating performance.
 
We may not pay dividends on our common stock in the future.
 
We initiated a dividend on our common stock in 2009. However, there is no assurance that we will continue to pay any dividends to holders of our common stock in the future. If we were to cease paying dividends, investors would need to rely on the sale of their common stock after price appreciation, which may never occur, as the only way to realize any future gains on their investment.
 
If securities analysts do not publish research or reports about our business or if they downgrade our common stock, the price of our common stock could decline.
 
The trading market for our common stock relies in part on the research and reports that industry or financial analysts publish about us or our business. These analysts work independently of us. If one or more analysts who cover us downgrade our stock, our stock price could decline rapidly. If one or more of these analysts cease coverage of our company, we could lose visibility in the market, which in turn could cause our stock price to decline.
 
Provisions in our stockholders rights plan, organizational documents and Delaware law might discourage, delay or prevent a change of control of our company or changes in our management, and therefore, depress the trading price of our common stock.
 
Our Board of Directors adopted and our stockholders subsequently ratified a stockholders rights plan, commonly referred to as a “poison pill.” This plan entitles existing stockholders to rights, including the right to purchase shares of common stock, in the event of an acquisition of 20% or more of our outstanding common stock. Our stockholders rights plan could prevent stockholders from profiting from an increase in the market value of their shares as a result of a change of control of us by delaying or preventing a change of control.


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In addition, provisions of our certificate of incorporation and bylaws may make it substantially more difficult for a third party to acquire control of us and may prevent changes in our management, including provisions that:
 
  •  prevent stockholders from calling special meetings;
 
  •  allow the directors to amend the bylaws without stockholder approval; and
 
  •  set forth advance notice procedures for nominating directors and submitting proposals for consideration at stockholders’ meetings.
 
Provisions of Delaware law may also inhibit potential acquisition bids for us or prevent us from engaging in business combinations. In addition, we have severance agreements with several employees and a change of control severance plan that could require an acquiror to pay a higher price. Either collectively or individually, these provisions may prevent holders of our common stock from benefiting from what they may believe are the positive aspects of acquisitions and takeovers, including the potential realization of a higher rate of return on their investment from these types of transactions.
 
Item 1B.    Unresolved Staff Comments.
 
None.
 
Item 2.    Properties.
 
Beginning February 2010, our corporate headquarters and principal U.S. offices are located at 299 Park Avenue, New York, New York, where we lease 27,900 square feet under sequential leases expiring in February 2022. We also collectively lease approximately 18,300 square feet for our other office locations in the U.S. and the United Kingdom under various leases expiring between May 2010 and March 2019. In addition, we lease another 17,000 square feet at 350 Madison Avenue, New York, New York, which we currently sublet; the lease and sublease expire in April 2011.
 
Item 3.    Legal Proceedings.
 
In January 2007, a former employee of MarketAxess Corporation commenced an arbitration proceeding before FINRA arising out of the May 2006 termination of such individual’s employment with MarketAxess Corporation. This individual subsequently amended his statement of claim to add MarketAxess Holdings Inc. as a party to the arbitration proceeding. FINRA consolidated all of the former employee’s claims into a single proceeding. The former employee alleges that we acted wrongfully as a result of, and in connection with, the decision by the Compensation Committee of our Board of Directors not to accede to the employee’s demand for alteration of the terms of certain stock option and restricted stock agreements in order to award the employee additional rights and benefits upon the termination of his employment, i.e. , accelerated vesting of all of his then unvested options and shares of restricted stock and waiver of the 90-day time period within which he was contractually required to exercise his vested options. This former employee further alleges that he is entitled to a bonus for the approximately five months that he worked for MarketAxess Corporation during 2006. The alleged damages sought by the claimant total approximately $0.9 million, plus statutory interest, and an unstated amount of punitive damages, costs and expenses.
 
The FINRA hearing, originally scheduled for early February 2009, was further postponed in September 2009 and February 2010. New hearing dates have not yet been established. We believe that these claims are wholly without merit and have vigorously defended against them. Based on currently available information, we believe that the likelihood of a material loss is not probable. Accordingly, no amount has been provided in the financial statements. However, arbitration is subject to inherent uncertainties and unfavorable rulings could occur.
 
Item 4.    Submission of Matters to a Vote of Security Holders.
 
None.


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PART II
 
Item 5.    Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities.
 
Price Range
 
Our common stock trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol “MKTX”. The range of closing price information for our common stock, as reported by NASDAQ, was as follows:
 
                 
2009:
  High     Low  
 
January 1, 2009 to March 31, 2009
  $ 9.02     $ 6.13  
April 1, 2009 to June 30, 2009
  $ 11.07     $ 7.74  
July 1, 2009 to September 30, 2009
  $ 12.10     $ 8.93  
October 1, 2009 to December 31, 2009
  $ 13.90     $ 11.47  
 
                 
2008:
  High     Low  
 
January 1, 2008 to March 31, 2008
  $ 12.28     $ 8.83  
April 1, 2008 to June 30, 2008
  $ 10.35     $ 7.47  
July 1, 2008 to September 30, 2008
  $ 10.78     $ 6.19  
October 1, 2008 to December 31, 2008
  $ 8.16     $ 4.31  
 
On February 24, 2010, the last reported closing price of our common stock on the NASDAQ Global Select Market was $15.39.
 
Holders
 
There were 72 holders of record of our common stock as of February 24, 2010.
 
Dividend Policy
 
Prior to 2009, we retained all earnings for investment in our business. In October 2009, our Board of Directors approved a regular quarterly dividend. The first quarterly cash dividend of $0.07 per share was paid to our stockholders in November 2009 and a quarterly cash dividend of $0.07 per share will be paid on March 3, 2010 to stockholders of record as of the close of business on February 17, 2010. We expect to continue paying regular cash dividends, although there is no assurance as to such dividends. Any future declaration and payment of dividends will be at the sole discretion of our Board of Directors. Our Board of Directors may take into account such matters as general business conditions, our financial results, capital requirements, contractual, legal, and regulatory restrictions on the payment of dividends by us to our stockholders or by our subsidiaries to us and any such other factors as our Board of Directors may deem relevant.
 
Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities
 
None.
 
Securities Authorized for Issuance Under Equity Compensation Plans
 
Please see the section entitled “Equity Compensation Plan Information” in Item 12.


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Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
 
During the quarter ended December 31, 2009, we repurchased the following shares of common stock:
 
                                 
                Total Number of
    Dollar Value of
 
                Shares Purchased
    Shares That May
 
    Total Number of
    Average Price
    as Part of Publicly
    Yet Be Purchased
 
Period
  Shares Purchased     Paid per Share     Announced Plans     Under the Plans  
                      (In thousands)  
 
October 1, 2009 — October 31, 2009
    12,444     $ 11.50           $  
November 1, 2009 — November 30, 2009
                       
December 1 , 2009 — December 31, 2009
                       
                                 
      12,444     $ 11.50                
                                 
 
During the three months ended December 31, 2009, a total of 12,444 shares were surrendered by employees to us to satisfy employee withholding tax obligations upon the vesting of restricted shares.
 
STOCK PERFORMANCE GRAPH
 
The following graph shows a comparison from December 31, 2004 through December 31, 2009 of the cumulative total return for (i) our common stock, (ii) the NASDAQ Composite Index and (iii) the Dow Jones US Financial Services Index.
 
The figures in this graph assume an initial investment of $100 in our common stock and in each index on December 31, 2004, and that all quarterly dividends were reinvested. The returns illustrated below are based on historical results during the period indicated and should not be considered indicative of future stockholder returns.
 
(PERFORMANCE GRAPH)


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Item 6.    Selected Financial Data.
 
The selected statements of operations data for each of the years ended December 31, 2009, 2008 and 2007 and the selected balance sheet data as of December 31, 2009 and 2008 have been derived from our audited financial statements included elsewhere in this Form 10-K. The selected statements of operations data for the years ended December 31, 2006 and 2005, and the balance sheet data as of December 31, 2007, 2006 and 2005 have been derived from our audited financial statements not included in this Form 10-K.
 
                                         
    Year Ended December 31,  
    2009     2008     2007     2006     2005  
    (In thousands, except share and per share amounts)  
 
Statements of Operations Data:
                                       
Revenues
                                       
Commissions
                                       
U.S. high-grade(1)
  $ 62,557     $ 46,547     $ 52,541     $ 47,752     $ 45,615  
Eurobond
    20,339       18,146       18,828       15,368       14,078  
Other(2)
    13,236       8,835       8,845       8,310       7,225  
                                         
Total commissions
    96,132       73,528       80,214       71,430       66,918  
Technology products and services(3)
    9,778       8,555       742              
Information and user access fees
    6,252       6,025       5,877       5,477       4,435  
Interest income
    1,222       3,478       5,242       4,595       3,160  
Other(4)
    1,055       1,499       1,568       1,814       4,047  
                                         
Total revenues
    114,439       93,085       93,643       83,316       78,560  
                                         
Expenses
                                       
Employee compensation and benefits(5)
    50,274       43,810       43,051       42,078       35,445  
Depreciation and amortization
    6,790       7,879       7,170       6,728       5,649  
Technology and communications
    8,436       8,311       7,463       7,704       7,401  
Professional and consulting fees
    6,869       8,171       7,639       8,072       9,355  
Occupancy
    3,129       2,891       3,275       3,033       2,365  
Marketing and advertising
    2,882       3,032       1,905       1,769       2,581  
General and administrative
    6,010       6,157       5,889       5,328       4,203  
                                         
Total expenses
    84,390       80,251       76,392       74,712       66,999  
                                         
Income before income taxes
    30,049       12,834       17,251       8,604       11,561  
Provision for income taxes
    13,947       4,935       6,931       3,183       3,419  
                                         
Net income
  $ 16,102     $ 7,899     $ 10,320     $ 5,421     $ 8,142  
                                         
Net income per common share:
                                       
Basic
  $ 0.44     $ 0.23     $ 0.32     $ 0.18     $ 0.29  
Diluted
  $ 0.42     $ 0.22     $ 0.30     $ 0.15     $ 0.23  
Weighted average number of shares of common stock outstanding:
                                       
Basic
    33,263,828       32,830,923       32,293,036       30,563,437       28,156,505  
Diluted
    38,081,980       35,737,379       34,453,195       35,077,348       35,512,346  
Cash dividends per share
  $ 0.07     $     $     $     $  
 


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    As of December 31,  
    2009     2008     2007     2006     2005  
    (In thousands)  
 
Balance Sheet Data:
                                       
Cash and cash equivalents and securities available-for-sale
  $ 174,338     $ 142,550     $ 124,290     $ 131,015     $ 118,145  
Working capital(6)
    170,060       137,390       120,656       135,268       120,016  
Total assets
    277,286       246,428       198,366       204,278       190,462  
 
 
(1) Commissions include commissions from monthly distribution fees and transactions between institutional investor clients and broker-dealer clients as well as transactions between broker-dealer clients.
 
(2) Other commissions consist primarily of commissions from the trading of emerging markets, crossover and high-yield, new issue, agency and treasury bonds as well as credit default swap indices.
 
(3) Technology product and services includes software licenses, maintenance and support services and professional consulting services. Revenues are principally derived from the acquisitions of Greenline in March 2008 and TWS in November 2007.
 
(4) Other revenues consist primarily of telecommunications line charges to broker-dealer clients, initial set-up fees and other miscellaneous revenues.
 
(5) We adopted a new accounting standard requiring the recognition of compensation expense for all share-based awards using the modified prospective transition method effective January 1, 2006. In accordance with the modified prospective transition method, our Consolidated Financial Statements for prior periods have not been restated to reflect, and do not include, the impact of the new standard. Incremental stock-based compensation expense related to employee stock options recognized under this standard for the years ended December 31, 2009, 2008, 2007 and 2006 was $2.9 million, $3.8 million, $3.0 million and $3.2 million, respectively.
 
(6) Working capital is defined as current assets minus current liabilities. Current assets consist of cash and cash equivalents, securities available-for-sale, accounts receivable and prepaid expenses. Current liabilities consist of accrued employee compensation, deferred revenue, and accounts payable, accrued expenses and other liabilities.

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Item 7.    Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.
 
You should read the following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations in conjunction with “Selected Financial Data” and our consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this Form 10-K. In addition to historical information, this discussion and analysis contains forward-looking statements relating to future events and the future performance of MarketAxess that are based on our current expectations, assumptions, estimates and projections about us and our industry. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties. Our actual results and timing of various events could differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking statements as a result of a variety of factors, as more fully described in this section, in “Item 1A. — Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this Form 10-K. We undertake no obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements for any reason, even if new information becomes available or other events occur in the future.
 
Executive Summary
 
MarketAxess operates a leading electronic trading platform that allows investment industry professionals to efficiently trade corporate bonds and other types of fixed-income instruments. Our 730 active institutional investor clients (firms that executed at least one trade in U.S. or European fixed-income securities through our electronic trading platform during 2009) include investment advisers, mutual funds, insurance companies, public and private pension funds, bank portfolios, broker-dealers and hedge funds. Our 67 broker-dealer market-maker clients provide liquidity on the platform and include most of the leading broker-dealers in global fixed-income trading. Our DealerAxess ® trading service allows dealers to trade fixed-income securities and credit default swaps with each other on our platform. Through our Corporate BondTicker tm service, we provide fixed-income market data, analytics and compliance tools that help our clients make trading decisions. In addition, we provide FIX (Financial Information eXchange) message management tools, connectivity solutions and ancillary technology services that facilitate the electronic communication of order information between trading counterparties. Our revenues are primarily generated from the trading of U.S. and European high-grade corporate bonds.
 
Our multi-dealer trading platform allows our institutional investor clients to simultaneously request competing, executable bids or offers from our broker-dealer clients and execute trades with the broker-dealer of their choice from among those that choose to respond. We offer our broker-dealer clients a solution that enables them to efficiently reach our institutional investor clients for the distribution and trading of bonds. In addition to U.S. high-grade corporate bonds, European high-grade corporate bonds and emerging markets bonds, including both investment-grade and non-investment grade debt, we also offer our clients the ability to trade crossover and high-yield bonds, agency bonds and credit default swap indices.
 
The majority of our revenues are derived from monthly distribution fees and commissions for trades executed on our platform that are billed to our broker-dealer clients on a monthly basis. We also derive revenues from technology products and services, information and user access fees, investment income and other income. Our expenses consist of employee compensation and benefits, depreciation and amortization, technology and communication expenses, professional and consulting fees, occupancy, marketing and advertising and other general and administrative expenses.
 
Our objective is to provide the leading global electronic trading platform for fixed-income securities, connecting broker-dealers and institutional investors more easily and efficiently, while offering a broad array of information, trading and technology services to market participants across the trading cycle. The key elements of our strategy are:
 
  •  to innovate and efficiently add new functionality and product offerings to the MarketAxess platform that we believe will help to increase our market share with existing clients, as well as expand our client base;
 
  •  to leverage our technology, as well as our strong broker-dealer and institutional investor relationships, to deploy our electronic trading platform into additional product segments within the fixed-income securities markets, deliver fixed-income securities-related technical services and products and deploy our electronic trading platform into new client segments;


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  •  to continue building our existing service offerings so that our electronic trading platform is fully integrated into the workflow of our broker-dealer and institutional investor clients and to continue to add functionality to allow our clients to achieve a fully automated end-to-end straight-through processing solution (automation from trade initiation to settlement);
 
  •  to add new content and analytical capabilities to Corporate BondTicker tm in order to improve the value of the information we provide to our clients; and
 
  •  to continue to supplement our internal growth by entering into strategic alliances, or acquiring businesses or technologies that will enable us to enter new markets, provide new products or services, or otherwise enhance the value of our platform to our clients.
 
Critical Factors Affecting Our Industry and Our Company
 
Economic, Political and Market Factors
 
The global fixed-income securities industry is risky and volatile and is directly affected by a number of economic, political and market factors that may result in declining trading volume. These factors could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. These factors include, among others, credit market conditions, the current interest rate environment, including the volatility of interest rates and investors’ forecasts of future interest rates, economic and political conditions in the United States, Europe and elsewhere, and consolidation or contraction of broker-dealers.
 
Competitive Landscape
 
The global fixed-income securities industry generally, and the electronic financial services markets in which we engage in particular, are highly competitive, and we expect competition to intensify in the future. Sources of competition for us will continue to include, among others, bond trading conducted directly between broker-dealers and their institutional investor clients over the telephone or electronically and other multi-dealer trading companies. Competitors, including companies in which some of our broker-dealer clients have invested, have developed electronic trading platforms or have announced their intention to explore the development of electronic platforms that may compete with us.
 
In general, we compete on the basis of a number of key factors, including, among others, the liquidity provided on our platform, the magnitude and frequency of price improvement enabled by our platform and the quality and speed of execution. We believe that we compete favorably with respect to these factors. We continue to proactively build technology solutions that serve the needs of the credit markets.
 
Our competitive position is also enhanced by the familiarity and integration of our broker-dealer and institutional investor clients with our electronic trading platform and other systems. We have focused on the unique aspects of the credit markets we serve in the development of our platform, working closely with our clients to provide a system that is suited to their needs.
 
Regulatory Environment
 
Our industry has been and is subject to continuous regulatory changes and may become subject to new regulations or changes in the interpretation or enforcement of existing regulations, which could require us to incur significant costs.
 
Our U.S. subsidiary, MarketAxess Corporation, is a registered broker-dealer with the SEC and is a member of FINRA. Our U.K. subsidiary, MarketAxess Europe Limited, is registered as a multilateral trading facility dealer with the FSA in the U.K. MarketAxess Canada Limited, a Canadian subsidiary, is registered as an Alternative Trading System dealer under the Securities Act of Ontario and is a member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada. Relevant regulations prohibit repayment of borrowings from these subsidiaries or their affiliates, paying cash dividends, making loans to us or our affiliates or otherwise entering into transactions that result in a significant reduction in regulatory net capital or financial resources, without prior notification to or approval from such regulated entity’s principal regulator.


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As a public company listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market, we are subject to the reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and NASDAQ rules. The requirements of these rules and regulations impose legal and financial compliance costs, make some activities more difficult, time-consuming and/or costly and may also place a strain on our systems and resources. In order to maintain and improve the effectiveness of our disclosure controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting, significant resources and management oversight are required.
 
Rapid Technological Changes
 
We must continue to enhance and improve our electronic trading platform. The electronic financial services industry is characterized by increasingly complex systems and infrastructures and new business models. Our future success will depend on our ability to enhance our existing products and services, develop and/or license new products and technologies that address the increasingly sophisticated and varied needs of our broker-dealer and institutional investor clients and prospective clients and respond to technological advances and emerging industry standards and practices on a cost-effective and timely basis. We received five patents in 2009 covering our most significant trading protocols and other aspects of our trading system technology, and other patents are pending.
 
Trends in Our Business
 
The majority of our revenues are derived from monthly distribution fees and commissions for transactions executed on our platform between our institutional investor and broker-dealer clients. We believe that there are five key variables that impact the notional value of such transactions on our platform and the amount of commissions and distribution fees earned by us:
 
  •  the number of institutional investor clients that participate on the platform and their willingness to originate transactions through the platform;
 
  •  the number of broker-dealer clients on the platform and the frequency and competitiveness of the price responses they provide to the institutional investor clients;
 
  •  the number of markets for which we make trading available to our clients;
 
  •  the overall level of activity in these markets; and
 
  •  the level of commissions that we collect for trades executed through the platform.
 
We believe that overall corporate bond market trading volume is affected by various factors including the absolute levels of interest rates, the direction of interest rate movements, the level of new issues of corporate bonds and the volatility of corporate bond spreads versus U.S. Treasury securities. Because a significant percentage of our revenue is tied directly to the volume of securities traded on our platform, it is likely that a general decline in trading volumes, regardless of the cause of such decline, would reduce our revenues and have a significant negative impact on profitability.
 
The U.S. and European credit markets have been through a period of significant turmoil since the third quarter of 2007, especially in short-term funding and floating rate note instruments. A widespread retrenchment in the credit markets resulted in increased credit spreads and significantly higher credit spread volatility across a wide range of asset classes. Credit yield spreads in U.S. corporate bonds, as measured by the Credit Suisse Liquid U.S. Corporate Index, increased from 1.0% over U.S. Treasuries in June 2007 to a peak of 5.4% in December 2008. The credit markets demonstrated significant improvement throughout 2009, with net inflows to taxable bond funds and corporate and international bond exchange-traded funds, and an increase in the volume of new issues of high-grade corporate bonds compared to the second half of 2008. Credit yield spreads in U.S. corporate bonds declined to 1.2% over U.S. Treasuries as of December 31, 2009. The average daily trading volume of U.S. high-grade corporate bonds for the quarter ended December 31, 2009, as measured by the FINRA Trade Reporting and Compliance Engine (“TRACE”), was $11.0 billion, compared to $8.0 billion in the quarter ended December 31, 2008.


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Commission Revenue
 
Commissions are generally calculated as a percentage of the notional dollar volume of bonds traded on our platform and vary based on the type, size, yield and maturity of the bond traded. The commission rates are based on a number of factors, including fees charged by inter-dealer brokers in the respective markets, average bid-offer spreads in the products we offer and transaction costs through alternative channels including the telephone. Under our transaction fee plans, bonds that are more actively traded or that have shorter maturities are generally charged lower commissions, while bonds that are less actively traded or that have longer maturities generally command higher commissions.
 
U.S. High-Grade Corporate Bond Commissions.   Our U.S. high-grade corporate bond fee plans for fully electronic trades generally incorporate various monthly distribution fees and variable transaction fees billed to our broker-dealer clients on a monthly basis. The fee plans generally incorporate volume incentives to our broker-dealer clients that are designed to increase the volume of transactions effected on our platform. Under the fee plans, we electronically add the transaction fee to the spread quoted by the broker-dealer client. For trades that we execute between and among institutional investor and broker-dealer clients on a riskless principal basis by serving as counterparty to both the buyer and the seller, we earn our commission through the difference in price between the two back-to-back trades.
 
Eurobond Commissions.   On June 1, 2007, we introduced a new fee plan for Eurobond trades for the majority of our European dealers. Similar to the U.S. high-grade plans, our European fee plan incorporates monthly distribution fees as well as variable transaction fees. The variable transaction fee under the new plan is dependent on the type of bond traded and the maturity of the issue. The combination of the distribution fees and transaction fees in the new plan results in higher total revenue to us at current or lower volume levels. If volume grows, total revenues could be less under the new plan than the previous plan due to the lower transaction fees. Under the fee plan in effect prior to June 1, 2007, broker-dealer transaction fees varied based on the type of bond traded and the maturity of the issue. This fee schedule applied a tiered fee structure, which reduced the fee per trade upon the attainment of certain specified amounts of monthly commissions generated by a particular broker-dealer and did not carry a monthly distribution fee.
 
Other Commissions.   Commissions for other bond and credit default swap trades generally vary based on the type and the maturity of the instrument traded. We generally operate using standard fee schedules that may include both transaction fees and monthly distribution fees that are charged to the participating dealers. For trades that we execute between and among institutional investor and broker-dealer clients on a riskless principal basis by serving as counterparty to both the buyer and the seller, we earn our commission through the difference in price between the two back-to-back trades.
 
We anticipate that average fees per million may change in the future. Consequently, past trends in commissions are not necessarily indicative of future commissions.
 
Other Revenue
 
In addition to the commissions discussed above, we earn revenue from technology products and services, information services fees paid by institutional investor and broker-dealer clients, income on investments and other income.
 
Technology Products and Services.   Technology products and services includes software licenses, maintenance and support services and professional consulting services, In March 2008, we acquired Greenline Financial Technologies, Inc. (“Greenline”), an Illinois-based provider of integration, testing and management solutions for FIX-related products and services. In November 2007, we acquired certain assets of Trade West Systems, LLC (“TWS”), a Utah-based financial software and technology services provider focused on providing gateway adapters for connecting order management systems and trading systems to fixed-income trading venues.
 
Information and User Access Fees.   We charge information services fees for Corporate BondTicker tm to our broker-dealer clients, institutional investor clients and data-only subscribers. The information services fee is a flat monthly fee, based on the level of service. We also generate information services fees from the sale of bulk data to certain institutional investor clients and data-only subscribers. Institutional investor clients trading U.S. high-grade


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corporate bonds are charged a monthly user access fee for the use of our platform. The fee, billed quarterly, is charged to the client based on the number of the client’s users. To encourage institutional investor clients to execute trades on our platform, we reduce these information and user access fees for such clients once minimum quarterly trading volumes are attained.
 
Investment Income.   Investment income consists of income earned on our investments.
 
Other.   Other revenues include fees from telecommunications line charges to broker-dealer clients, initial set-up fees and other miscellaneous revenues.
 
Expenses
 
In the normal course of business, we incur the following expenses:
 
Employee Compensation and Benefits.   Employee compensation and benefits is our most significant expense and includes employee salaries, stock compensation costs, other incentive compensation, employee benefits and payroll taxes.
 
Depreciation and Amortization.   We depreciate our computer hardware and related software, office hardware and furniture and fixtures and amortize our capitalized software development costs on a straight-line basis over three to seven years. We amortize leasehold improvements on a straight-line basis over the lesser of the life of the improvement or the remaining term of the lease. Intangible assets with definite lives, including purchased technologies, customer relationships and other intangible assets, are amortized over their estimated useful lives, ranging from five to ten years. Intangible assets are assessed for impairment when events or circumstances indicate a possible impairment.
 
Technology and Communications.   Technology and communications expense consists primarily of costs relating to maintenance on software and hardware, our internal network connections, data center hosting costs and data feeds provided by outside vendors or service providers. The majority of our broker-dealer clients have dedicated high-speed communication lines to our network in order to provide fast data transfer. We charge our broker-dealer clients a monthly fee for these connections, which is recovered against the relevant expenses we incur.
 
Professional and Consulting Fees.   Professional and consulting fees consist primarily of accounting fees, legal fees and fees paid to information technology and non-information technology consultants for services provided for the maintenance of our trading platform and information services products.
 
Occupancy.   Occupancy costs consist primarily of office and equipment rent, utilities and commercial rent tax.
 
Marketing and Advertising.   Marketing and advertising expense consists primarily of print and other advertising expenses we incur to promote our products and services. This expense also includes costs associated with attending or exhibiting at industry-sponsored seminars, conferences and conventions, and travel and entertainment expenses incurred by our sales force to promote our trading platform and information services.
 
General and Administrative.   General and administrative expense consists primarily of general travel and entertainment, board of directors expenses, charitable contributions, provision for doubtful accounts, and various state franchise and U.K. value-added taxes.
 
Expenses may grow in the future, primarily due to investment in new products, notably in employee compensation and benefits, professional and consulting fees, and general and administrative expense. However, as demonstrated by our 2009 operating results, we believe that operating leverage can be achieved by increasing volumes in existing products and adding new products without substantial additions to our infrastructure.
 
Critical Accounting Estimates
 
This Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations discusses our Consolidated Financial Statements, which have been prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States, also referred to as U.S. GAAP. The preparation of these financial statements requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and the reported amounts of income and expenses during the reporting periods. We base our estimates and judgments on


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historical experience and on various other factors that we believe are reasonable under the circumstances. Actual results may differ from these estimates under varying assumptions or conditions. Note 2 of the Notes to our Consolidated Financial Statements includes a summary of the significant accounting policies and methods used in the preparation of our Consolidated Financial Statements.
 
Use of Estimates
 
On an ongoing basis, management evaluates its estimates and judgments, particularly as they relate to accounting policies that management believes are critical. That is, these accounting policies are most important to the portrayal of our financial condition and results of operations and they require management’s most difficult, subjective or complex judgments, often as a result of the need to make estimates about the effect of matters that are inherently uncertain.
 
Allowance for Doubtful Accounts
 
We continually monitor collections and payments from our customers and maintain an allowance for doubtful accounts. The allowance for doubtful accounts is based upon the historical collection experience and specific collection issues that have been identified.
 
Software Development Costs
 
We capitalize certain costs associated with the development of internal use software at the point at which the conceptual formulation, design and testing of possible software project alternatives have been completed. We capitalize employee compensation and related benefits and third party consulting costs incurred during the preliminary software project stage. Once the product is ready for its intended use, such costs are amortized on a straight-line basis over three years. We review the amounts capitalized for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amounts of the assets may not be recoverable.
 
Revenue Recognition
 
The majority of our revenues are derived from monthly distribution fees and commissions for trades executed on our platform that are billed to our broker-dealer clients on a monthly basis. We also derive revenues from technology products and services, information and user access fees, investment income and other income.
 
Commission revenue.   Commissions are generally calculated as a percentage of the notional dollar volume of bonds traded on the platform and vary based on the type and maturity of the bond traded. Under our transaction fee plans, bonds that are more actively traded or that have shorter maturities are generally charged lower commissions, while bonds that are less actively traded or that have longer maturities generally command higher commissions. For trades that we execute between and among institutional investor and broker-dealer clients on a riskless principal basis by serving as counterparty to both the buyer and the seller, we earn the commission through the difference in price between the two back-to-back trades.
 
Technology products and services.   We generate revenues from technology software licenses, maintenance and support services (referred to as post-contract technical support or “PCS”) and professional consulting services. Revenue is generally recognized when persuasive evidence of an arrangement exists, delivery has occurred, the fee is fixed or determinable and collection is considered probable. We generally sell software licenses and services together as part of multiple-element arrangements. We also enter into contracts for technology integration consulting services unrelated to any software product. When we enter into a multiple-element arrangement, the residual method is used to allocate the total fee among the elements of the arrangement. Under the residual method, license revenue is recognized upon delivery when vendor-specific objective evidence of fair value exists for all of the undelivered elements in the arrangement, but does not exist for one or more of the delivered elements in the arrangement. Each license arrangement requires that we analyze the individual elements in the transaction and estimate the fair value of each undelivered element, which typically includes PCS and professional services. License revenue consists of license fees charged for the use of our products under perpetual and, to a lesser extent, term license arrangements. License revenue from a perpetual arrangement is generally recognized upon delivery while license revenue from a term arrangement is recognized ratably over the duration of the arrangement on a


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straight-line basis. If the professional services are essential to the functionality of the software product, the license revenue is recognized upon customer acceptance or satisfaction of the service obligation.
 
Professional services are generally separately priced, are available from a number of suppliers and are typically not essential to the functionality of our software products. Revenues from these services are recognized separately from the license fee. Generally, revenue from time-and-materials consulting contracts is recognized as services are performed.
 
PCS includes telephone support, bug fixes and unspecified rights to product upgrades and enhancements, and is recognized ratably over the term of the service period, which is generally 12 months. We estimate the fair value of the PCS portion of an arrangement based on the price charged for PCS when sold separately. We sell PCS on a separate, standalone basis when customers renew PCS.
 
Revenues from contracts for technology integration consulting services are recognized on the percentage-of-completion method. Percentage-of-completion accounting involves calculating the percentage of services provided during the reporting period compared to the total estimated services to be provided over the duration of the contract. If estimates indicate that a contract loss will occur, a loss provision is recorded in the period in which the loss first becomes probable and reasonably estimable. Contract losses are determined to be the amount by which the estimated direct and indirect costs of the contract exceed the estimated total revenues that will be generated by the contract. Revenues recognized in excess of billings are recorded as unbilled services. Billings in excess of revenues recognized are recorded as deferred revenues until revenue recognition criteria are met.
 
Initial set-up fees.   We enter into agreements with our broker-dealer clients pursuant to which we provide access to our platform through a non-exclusive and non-transferable license. Broker-dealer clients may pay an initial set-up fee, which is typically due and payable upon execution of the broker-dealer agreement. The initial set-up fee varies by agreement. Revenue is recognized over the initial term of the agreement, which is generally two years.
 
Stock-Based Compensation
 
We measure and recognize compensation expense for all share-based payment awards based on their estimated fair values measured as of the grant date. These costs are recognized as an expense in the Consolidated Statements of Operations over the requisite service period, which is typically the vesting period, with an offsetting increase to additional paid-in capital.
 
Income Taxes
 
Income taxes are accounted for using the asset and liability method. Deferred income taxes reflect the net tax effects of temporary differences between the financial reporting and tax bases of assets and liabilities and are measured using the enacted tax rates and laws that will be in effect when such differences are expected to reverse. The effect on deferred tax assets and liabilities of a change in tax rates is recognized in income in the period that includes the enactment date. A valuation allowance is recognized against deferred tax assets if it is more likely than not that such assets will not be realized in future years. We recognize interest and penalties related to unrecognized tax benefits in general and administrative expenses in the Consolidated Statements of Operations.
 
Business Combinations, Goodwill and Intangibles Assets
 
Business combinations were completed prior to December 31, 2008 and were accounted for under the purchase method. The total cost of an acquisition is allocated to the underlying net assets based on their respective estimated fair values. The excess of the purchase price over the estimated fair values of the net assets acquired is recorded as goodwill. Determining the fair value of certain assets acquired and liabilities assumed is judgmental in nature and often involves the use of significant estimates and assumptions, including assumptions with respect to future cash flows, discount rates, growth rates and asset lives.
 
Goodwill and other intangibles with indefinite lives are not amortized. We perform an impairment review of goodwill on an annual basis and more frequently if circumstances change. Intangible assets with definite lives, including purchased technologies, customer relationships and other intangible assets, are amortized on a straight-line basis over their estimated useful lives, ranging from five to ten years. Intangible assets are assessed for impairment when events or circumstances indicate a possible impairment.


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Segment Results
 
As an electronic, multi-dealer platform for trading fixed-income securities, our operations constitute a single business segment. Because of the highly integrated nature of the financial markets in which we compete and the integration of our worldwide business activities, we believe that results by geographic region, products or types of clients are not necessarily meaningful in understanding our business.
 
Results of Operations
 
Year Ended December 31, 2009 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2008
 
Overview
 
Total revenues increased by $21.4 million or 22.9% to $114.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2009 from $93.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2008. This increase in total revenues was primarily due to an increase in commissions of $22.6 million and in technology products and services revenues of $1.2 million, offset by a decrease in investment income of $2.3 million and other income of $0.4 million. Technology products and services revenues reflect the impact of the Greenline acquisition in March 2008. A 15.0% decrease in the average exchange rate of the Pound Sterling compared to the U.S. dollar from the year ended December 31, 2008 to the year ended December 31, 2009 had the effect of reducing European revenues by $3.7 million.
 
Total expenses increased by $4.1 million or 5.2% to $84.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2009 from $80.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2008. An increase in employee compensation and benefits of $6.5 million was offset by declines in professional and consulting fees of $1.3 million and depreciation and amortization of $1.1 million. The change in the foreign currency rates had the effect of reducing European expenses by $2.2 million. The 2008 results include Greenline expenses from the date of the acquisition.
 
Income before taxes increased by $17.2 million or 134.1% to $30.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2009 from $12.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2008. Net income increased by $8.2 million or 103.8% to $16.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2009, from $7.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2008.
 
Revenues
 
Our revenues for the years ended December 31, 2009 and 2008, and the resulting dollar and percentage changes, were as follows:
 
                                                 
    Year Ended December 31,  
    2009     2008              
    $     % of Revenues     $     % of Revenues     $ Change     % Change  
                ($ in thousands)              
 
Commissions
  $ 96,132       84.0 %   $ 73,528       79.0 %   $ 22,604       30.7 %
Technology products and services
    9,778       8.5       8,555       9.2       1,223       14.3  
Information and user access fees
    6,252       5.5       6,025       6.5       227       3.8  
Investment income
    1,222       1.1       3,478       3.7       (2,256 )     (64.9 )
Other
    1,055       0.9       1,499       1.6       (444 )     (29.6 )
                                                 
Total revenues
  $ 114,439       100.0 %   $ 93,085       100.0 %   $ 21,354       22.9 %
                                                 


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Commissions.   Our commission revenues for years ended December 31, 2009 and 2008, and the resulting dollar and percentage changes, were as follows:
 
                                 
    Year Ended December 31,  
                $
    %
 
    2009     2008     Change     Change  
    ($ in thousands)  
 
Distribution fees
                               
U.S. high-grade
  $ 30,831     $ 30,287     $ 544       1.8 %
Eurobond
    12,526       14,143       (1,617 )     (11.4 )
                                 
Total distribution fees
    43,357       44,430       (1,073 )     (2.4 )
Variable transaction fees
                               
U.S. high-grade
    31,726       16,260       15,466       95.1  
Eurobond
    7,813       4,003       3,810       95.2  
Other
    13,236       8,835       4,401       49.8  
                                 
Total transaction fees
    52,775       29,098       23,677       81.4  
                                 
Total commissions
  $ 96,132     $ 73,528     $ 22,604       30.7 %
                                 
 
The change in the average exchange rate of the Pound Sterling compared to the U.S. dollar from the year ended December 31, 2008 to the year ended December 31, 2009 had the effect of reducing Eurobond commission revenues by $3.6 million.
 
The following table shows the extent to which the increase in commissions for the year ended December 31, 2009 was attributable to changes in transaction volumes, variable transaction fees per million and monthly distribution fees:
 
                                 
    Change From Year Ended
 
    December 31, 2008  
    U.S.
                   
    High-Grade     Eurobond     Other     Total  
    (In thousands)  
 
Volume increase
  $ 5,134     $ 2,348     $ 1,468     $ 8,950  
Variable transaction fee per million increase
    10,332       1,462       2,933       14,727  
Monthly distribution fees increase (decrease)
    544       (1,617 )           (1,073 )
                                 
Total commissions increase
  $ 16,010     $ 2,193     $ 4,401     $ 22,604  
                                 
 
Our trading volume for each of the years presented was as follows:
 
                                 
    Year Ended December 31,  
                $
    %
 
    2009     2008     Change     Change  
 
Trading Volume Data (in millions)
                               
U.S. high-grade
  $ 177,148     $ 134,636     $ 42,512       31.6 %
Eurobond
    56,778       35,788       20,990       58.7  
Other
    65,360       56,047       9,313       16.6  
                                 
Total
  $ 299,286     $ 226,471     $ 72,815       32.2 %
                                 
Number of U.S. Trading Days
    250       251                  
Number of U.K. Trading Days
    253       254                  
 
For volume reporting purposes, transactions in foreign currencies are converted to U.S. dollars at average monthly rates. Prior to September 1, 2008, no fees were charged on U.S. high-grade single-dealer inquiries. Such single-dealer inquiry trading volume amounted to $6.3 billion for the year ended December 31, 2008. Effective September 1, 2008, single-dealer inquiry trades are charged commissions in accordance with the U.S. high-grade


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corporate bond fee plan. CDS trading volume data are included in Other. Trading volume data related to DealerAxess ® bond trading between broker-dealer clients are included in either U.S. high-grade or Other trading volumes, as appropriate.
 
The increase in U.S. high-grade volume was due primarily to an increase in overall market volume as measured by FINRA TRACE, offset by a decline in the Company’s estimated market share of total U.S. high-grade corporate bond volume as reported by FINRA TRACE from 6.6% for the year ended December 31, 2008 to 6.2% for the year ended December 31, 2009. Estimated FINRA TRACE U.S. high-grade volume increased by 41.3% from $2,028 billion for the year ended December 31, 2008 to $2,865 billion for the year ended December 31, 2009. Eurobond volumes increased by 58.7% for the year ended December 31, 2009 compared to the year ended December 31, 2008, primarily due to the improvement in market conditions. Other volume increased by 16.6% for the year ended December 31, 2009 compared to the year ended December 31, 2008, primarily due to higher high-yield and agencies volume, offset by lower credit default swap volume.
 
Our average variable transaction fee per million for the years ended December 31, 2009 and 2008 was as follows:
 
                 
    Year Ended December 31,  
    2009     2008  
 
Average Variable Transaction Fee Per Million
               
U.S. high-grade
  $ 179     $ 121  
Eurobond
    138       112  
Other
    203       158  
Total
    176       128  
 
The U.S. high-grade average variable transaction fee per million increased from $121 per million for the year ended December 31, 2008 to $179 per million for the year ended December 31, 2009, primarily due to the introduction of our execution services desk, the introduction of new dealers on the platform that pay higher variable fees per million and the longer maturity of trades executed on the platform, for which we charge higher commissions. Eurobond average variable transaction fee per million increased from $112 per million for the year ended December 31, 2008 to $138 per million for the year ended December 31, 2009, primarily due to a larger percentage of Eurobond volume in products that carry higher fees per million, principally high-yield bonds. Other average variable transaction fee per million increased from $158 per million for the year ended December 31, 2008 to $203 per million for the year ended December 31, 2009, primarily due to a higher percentage of volume in products that carry higher fees per million, principally high-yield bonds.
 
Technology Products and Services.   Technology products and services revenues increased by $1.2 million or 14.3% to $9.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2009 from $8.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2008. The increase was primarily a result of technology integration consulting services.
 
Information and User Access Fees.   Information and user access fees increased by $0.2 million or 3.8% to $6.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2009 from $6.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2008.
 
Investment Income.   Investment income decreased by $2.3 million or 64.9% to $1.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2009 from $3.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2008. This decrease was primarily due to lower interest rates.
 
Other.   Other revenues decreased by $0.4 million or 29.6% to $1.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2009 from $1.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2008. The 2008 other revenues included an insurance settlement and other income aggregating $0.4 million.


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Expenses
 
Our expenses for the years ended December 31, 2009 and 2008, and the resulting dollar and percentage changes, were as follows:
 
                                                 
    Year Ended December 31,  
    2009     2008              
          % of
          % of
    $
    %
 
    $     Revenues     $     Revenues     Change     Change  
    ($ in thousands)  
 
Expenses
                                               
Employee compensation and benefits
  $ 50,274       43.9 %   $ 43,810       47.1 %   $ 6,464       14.8 %
Depreciation and amortization
    6,790       5.9       7,879       8.5       (1,089 )     (13.8 )
Technology and communications
    8,436       7.4       8,311       8.9       125       1.5  
Professional and consulting fees
    6,869       6.0       8,171       8.8       (1,302 )     (15.9 )
Occupancy
    3,129       2.7       2,891       3.1       238       8.2  
Marketing and advertising
    2,882       2.5       3,032       3.3       (150 )     (4.9 )
General and administrative
    6,010       5.3       6,157       6.6       (147 )     (2.4 )
                                                 
Total expenses
  $ 84,390       73.7 %   $ 80,251       86.2 %   $ 4,139       5.2 %
                                                 
 
Employee Compensation and Benefits.   Employee compensation and benefits increased by $6.5 million or 14.8% to $50.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2009 from $43.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2008. This increase was primarily attributable to higher incentive compensation of $4.9 million and stock-based compensation expense of $1.3 million. The total number of employees increased to 212 as of December 31, 2009 from 185 as of December 31, 2008. As a percentage of total revenues, employee compensation and benefits expense decreased to 43.9% for the year ended December 31, 2009 from 47.1% for the year ended December 31, 2008.
 
Depreciation and Amortization.   Depreciation and amortization expense decreased by $1.1 million or 13.8% to $6.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2009 from $7.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2008. The decrease was primarily due to declines in amortization of intangible assets of $0.5 million and software development costs of $0.5 million. The intangible amortization expense reduction was primarily due to a $0.7 million TWS impairment charge recorded in 2008 to reflect negative current period operating results and reduced revenue expectations for connectivity solutions principally delivered to broker-dealers. For the years ended December 31, 2009 and 2008, we capitalized $1.9 million and $2.4 million, respectively, of software development costs, and $4.9 million and $1.7 million, respectively, of equipment and leasehold improvements. The 2009 equipment and leasehold improvement expenditures included $2.2 million associated with the move of our corporate offices to new premises in New York City in the first quarter of 2010.
 
Technology and Communications.   Technology and communications expense increased by $0.1 million or 1.5% to $8.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2009 from $8.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2008.
 
Professional and Consulting Fees.   Professional and consulting fees decreased by $1.3 million or 15.9% to $6.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2009 from $8.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2008. The decrease was principally due to lower legal fees of $0.7 million and information technology consultant costs of $0.3 million.
 
Occupancy.   Occupancy costs increased by $0.2 million or 8.2% to $3.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2009 from $2.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2008. The increase was principally due to additional rental costs associated with new premises leased in New York City in the fourth quarter of 2009.
 
Marketing and Advertising.   Marketing and advertising expense decreased by $0.2 million or 4.9% to $2.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2009 from $3.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2008. Higher travel and entertainment expenses of $0.2 million were more than offset by lower advertising and promotional costs.


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General and Administrative.   General and administrative expense decreased by $0.1 million or 2.4% to $6.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2009 from $6.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2008. Higher trade settlement costs of $0.4 million were more than offset by lower charges for doubtful accounts of $0.6 million.
 
Provision for Income Tax
 
We recorded an income tax provision of $13.9 million and $4.9 million for the years ended December 31, 2009 and 2008, respectively. The increase in the tax provision was primarily attributable to the $17.2 million increase in pre-tax income. With the exception of the payment of certain foreign and state and local taxes, the provision for income taxes was a non-cash expense since we had available net operating loss carryforwards and tax credits to offset the cash payment of taxes.
 
Our consolidated effective tax rate for the year ended December 31, 2009 was 46.4% compared to 38.5% for the year ended December 31, 2008. During 2009, we reduced the tax rates used for recording the deferred tax assets to reflect the tax rates anticipated to be in effect when the temporary differences are expected to reverse, resulting in a decrease in the deferred tax asset and an increase in tax expense of $1.6 million. The 2009 tax rate change reflects a refinement in our state and local tax apportionment methodology. The 2008 effective tax rate reflects a higher portion of earnings generated in lower tax rate jurisdictions. Our consolidated effective tax rate can vary from period to period depending on, among other factors, the geographic and business mix of our earnings and changes in tax legislation and tax rates. Due to our net deferred tax asset balance, a decrease in tax rates results in a reduction in our deferred tax balance and an increase in tax expense.
 
As of December 31, 2009, we had net operating loss carryforwards of $82.9 million and tax credit carryforwards of $3.3 million for income tax purposes. The deferred tax asset of $24.0 million at December 31, 2009 includes a valuation allowance of $0.7 million arising from certain tax credit and foreign and state tax loss carryforwards. This valuation allowance was deemed appropriate due to available evidence indicating that some of the deferred tax assets might not be realized in future years.
 
Year Ended December 31, 2008 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2007
 
Overview
 
Total revenues decreased by $0.6 million or 0.6% to $93.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2008 from $93.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2007. This decrease in total revenues was primarily due to declines in commissions of $6.7 million and investment income of $1.8 million, offset by an increase in technology products and services revenues of $7.8 million. Technology products and services revenues reflect the impact of the Greenline and TWS acquisitions. A 7.5% decrease in the average exchange rate of the Pound Sterling compared to the U.S. dollar from the year ended December 31, 2007 to the year ended December 31 2008 had the effect of reducing European revenues by $1.6 million.
 
Total expenses increased by $3.9 million or 5.1% to $80.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2008 from $76.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2007. The Greenline acquisition increased expenses by $7.2 million, including $3.5 million of employee compensation and benefits. The $3.9 million increase in total expenses was primarily due to higher employee compensation and benefits of $0.8 million, depreciation and amortization of $0.7 million, technology and communications of $0.8 million and marketing and advertising of $0.9 million. The change in the foreign currency rates had the effect of reducing European expenses by $1.0 million.
 
Income before taxes decreased by $4.4 million or 25.6% to $12.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2008, from $17.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2007. Net income decreased by $2.4 million or 23.5% to $7.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2008, from $10.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2007.


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Revenues
 
Our revenues for the years ended December 31, 2008 and 2007, and the resulting dollar and percentage changes, were as follows:
 
                                                 
    Year Ended December 31,  
    2008     2007              
          % of
          % of
    $
    %
 
    $     Revenues     $     Revenues     Change     Change  
    ($ in thousands)  
 
Commissions
  $ 73,528       79.0 %   $ 80,214       85.7 %   $ (6,686 )     (8.3 )%
Technology products and services
    8,555       9.2       742       0.8       7,813       N/A  
Information and user access fees
    6,025       6.5       5,877       6.3       148       2.5  
Investment income
    3,478       3.7       5,242       5.6       (1,764 )     (33.7 )
Other
    1,499       1.6       1,568       1.7       (69 )     (4.4 )
                                                 
Total revenues
  $ 93,085       100.0 %   $ 93,643       100.0 %   $ (558 )     (0.6 )%
                                                 
 
Commissions.   Our commission revenues for years ended December 31, 2008 and 2007, and the resulting dollar and percentage changes, were as follows:
 
                                 
    Year Ended December 31,  
                $
    %
 
    2008     2007     Change     Change  
    ($ in thousands)  
 
Distribution fees
                               
U.S. high-grade
  $ 30,287     $ 34,939     $ (4,652 )     (13.3 )%
Eurobond
    14,143       8,148       5,995       73.6  
                                 
Total distribution fees
    44,430       43,087       1,343       3.1  
Variable transaction fees
                               
U.S. high-grade
    16,260       17,602       (1,342 )     (7.6 )
Eurobond
    4,003       10,680       (6,677 )     (62.5 )
Other
    8,835       8,845       (10 )     (0.1 )
                                 
Total transaction fees
    29,098       37,127       (8,029 )     (21.6 )
                                 
Total commissions
  $ 73,528     $ 80,214     $ (6,686 )     (8.3 )%
                                 
 
The U.S. high-grade distribution fees decreased by $4.7 million or 13.3% to $30.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2008 from $34.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2007 as a result of merger and bankruptcy activity involving several of our broker-dealer clients and expiration of DealerAxess ® monthly minimum fees. DealerAxess ® monthly minimum fees were zero and $3.5 million for the years ended December 31, 2008 and 2007, respectively. The majority of the DealerAxess ® minimum fee commitments expired as of June 30, 2007. On June 1, 2007, we introduced a new fee plan for European corporate bond trades. Similar to the U.S. high-grade plan, the new European high-grade corporate bond fee plan incorporates a monthly distribution fee and a transaction fee that is dependent on the type of bond traded and the maturity of the issue.
 
The change in the average exchange rate of the Pound Sterling compared to the U.S. dollar from the year ended December 31, 2007 to the year ended December 31, 2008 had the effect of reducing Eurobond commission revenues by $1.5 million.


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The following table shows the extent to which the decrease in commissions for the year ended December 31, 2008 was attributable to changes in transaction volumes, variable transaction fees per million, monthly distribution fees and DealerAxess ® minimum fees:
 
                                 
    Change From Year Ended December 31, 2007  
    U.S.
                   
    High-Grade     Eurobond     Other     Total  
    (In thousands)  
 
Volume (decrease)
  $ (6,277 )   $ (5,740 )   $ (2,088 )   $ (14,105 )
Variable transaction fee per million increase (decrease)
    4,935       (937 )     2,078       6,076  
Monthly distribution fees (decrease) increase
    (1,173 )     5,995             4,822  
DealerAxess ® minimum fees (decrease)
    (3,479 )                 (3,479 )
                                 
Total commissions (decrease)
  $ (5,994 )   $ (682 )   $ (10 )   $ (6,686 )
                                 
 
Our trading volume for each of the years presented was as follows:
 
                                 
    Year Ended December 31,  
                $
    %
 
    2008     2007     Change     Change  
 
Trading Volume Data (in millions)
                               
U.S. high-grade
  $ 134,636     $ 209,220     $ (74,584 )     (35.6 )%
Eurobond
    35,788       77,419       (41,631 )     (53.8 )
Other
    56,047       73,305       (17,258 )     (23.5 )
                                 
Total
  $ 226,471     $ 359,944     $ (133,473 )     (37.1 )%
                                 
Number of U.S. Trading Days
    251       250                  
Number of U.K. Trading Days
    254       253                  
 
As previously discussed, prior to September 1, 2008, no fees were charged on U.S. high-grade single-dealer inquiries. Such single-dealer inquiry trading volume amounted to $6.3 billion and $15.1 billion for the years ended December 31, 2008 and 2007, respectively.
 
The decrease in U.S. high-grade volume was due primarily to a decline in the Company’s estimated market share of total U.S. high-grade corporate bond volume as reported by FINRA TRACE from 9.4% for the year ended December 31, 2007 to 6.6% for the year ended December 31, 2008, coupled with a decline in overall market volume as measured by FINRA TRACE. Estimated FINRA TRACE U.S. high-grade volume decreased by 9.0% from $2,227 billion for the year ended December 31, 2007 to $2,028 billion for the year ended December 31, 2008. We believe the resultant lack of liquidity in the credit markets led institutional investors to reduce overall bond trading activity and conduct a higher percentage of their trades directly with their broker-dealer counterparties via the telephone, resulting in lower volumes on our platform. Other volume decreased by 23.5% for the year ended December 31, 2008, compared to the year ended December 31, 2007. The decrease was primarily due to lower emerging market, agencies and credit default swap volume, offset partially by increased high-yield volume.
 
Our average variable transaction fee per million for the years ended December 31, 2008 and 2007 was as follows:
 
                 
    Year Ended December 31,  
    2008     2007  
 
Average Variable Transaction Fee Per Million
               
U.S. high-grade
  $ 121     $ 84  
Eurobond
    112       138  
Other
    158       121  
Total
    128       103  


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The U.S. high-grade average variable transaction fee per million increased from $84 per million for the year ended December 31, 2007 to $121 per million for the year ended December 31, 2008 due to the longer maturity of trades executed on the platform, for which we charge higher commissions. The Eurobond average variable transaction fee per million decreased from $138 per million for the year ended December 31, 2007 to $112 per million for the year ended December 31, 2008, principally from the introduction of the new European high-grade fee plan. Other average variable transaction fee per million increased from $121 per million for the year ended December 31, 2007 to $158 per million for the year ended December 31, 2008 primarily due to a higher percentage of volume in products that carry higher fees per million, principally high-yield.
 
Technology Products and Services.   Technology products and services revenues increased by $7.8 million to $8.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2008 from $0.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2007. The increase was primarily a result of the Greenline acquisition.
 
Information and User Access Fees.   Information and user access fees increased by $0.1 million or 2.5% to $6.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2008 from $5.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2007.
 
Investment Income.   Investment income decreased by $1.8 million or 33.7% to $3.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2008 from $5.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2007. This decrease was primarily due to lower interest rates.
 
Other.   Other revenues decreased by $0.1 million or 4.4% to $1.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2008 from $1.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2007.
 
Expenses
 
Our expenses for the years ended December 31, 2008 and 2007, and the resulting dollar and percentage changes, were as follows:
 
                                                 
    Year Ended December 31,  
    2008     2007              
          % of
          % of
    $
    %
 
    $     Revenues     $     Revenues     Change     Change  
    ($ in thousands)  
 
Expenses
                                               
Employee compensation and benefits
  $ 43,810       47.1 %   $ 43,051       46.0 %   $ 759       1.8 %
Depreciation and amortization
    7,879       8.5       7,170       7.7       709       9.9  
Technology and communications
    8,311       8.9       7,463       8.0       848       11.4  
Professional and consulting fees
    8,171       8.8       7,639       8.2       532       7.0  
Occupancy
    2,891       3.1       3,275       3.5       (384 )     (11.7 )
Marketing and advertising
    3,032       3.3       1,905       2.0       1,127       59.2  
General and administrative
    6,157       6.6       5,889       6.3       268       4.6  
                                                 
Total expenses
  $ 80,251       86.2 %   $ 76,392       81.6 %   $ 3,859       5.1 %
                                                 
 
Employee Compensation and Benefits.   Employee compensation and benefits increased by $0.8 million or 1.8% to $43.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2008 from $43.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2007. This increase was primarily attributable to higher wages of $2.4 million, severance costs of $1.0 million and stock-based compensation expense of $1.4 million, offset by reduced incentive compensation of $3.6 million. The higher wages were primarily a result of the Greenline acquisition. The total number of employees increased to 185 as of December 31, 2008 from 182 as of December 31, 2007. As a percentage of total revenues, employee compensation and benefits expense increased to 47.1% for the year ended December 31, 2008 from 46.0% for the year ended December 31, 2007.
 
Depreciation and Amortization.   Depreciation and amortization expense increased by $0.7 million or 9.9% to $7.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2008 from $7.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2007. An increase in amortization of intangible assets of $1.3 million and the TWS impairment charge of $0.7 million were offset by a decline in depreciation and amortization of hardware and software development costs of $1.3 million.


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The intangible asset amortization increase was due to the $8.3 million of definite-life intangibles created in 2008 in connection with the Greenline acquisition. For the year ended December 31, 2008, we capitalized $2.4 million of software development costs and $1.7 million of computer and related equipment purchases.
 
Technology and Communications.   Technology and communications expense increased by $0.8 million or 11.4% to $8.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2008 from $7.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2007. This increase was attributable to higher expenses associated with the purchase of production and market data.
 
Professional and Consulting Fees.   Professional and consulting fees increased by $0.5 million or 7.0% to $8.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2008 from $7.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2007. The increase was principally due to higher information technology consultant costs of $0.7 million and audit and tax fees of $0.2 million, offset by lower recruiting fees of $0.5 million.
 
Occupancy.   Occupancy costs decreased by $0.4 million or 11.7% to $2.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2008 from $3.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2007. The decline was principally due to exiting certain leased office space in 2008.
 
Marketing and Advertising.   Marketing and advertising expense increased by $1.1 million or 59.2% to $3.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2008 from $1.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2007, primarily due to higher travel and entertainment expenses.
 
General and Administrative.   General and administrative expense increased by $0.3 million or 4.6% to $6.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2008 from $5.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2007, primarily due to increased charges for doubtful accounts of $0.8 million.
 
Provision for Income Tax
 
We recorded an income tax provision of $4.9 million and $6.9 million for the years ended December 31, 2008 and 2007, respectively. The decrease in the tax provision was primarily attributable to the $4.4 million decrease in pre-tax income. With the exception of the payment of certain foreign and state and local taxes, the provision for income taxes was a non-cash expense since we had available net operating loss carryforwards and tax credits to offset the cash payment of taxes.
 
Our consolidated effective tax rate for the year ended December 31, 2008 was 38.5% compared to 40.2% for the year ended December 31, 2007. The 2008 effective tax rate reflects a higher portion of earnings generated in lower tax rate jurisdictions. During 2007, we reduced the tax rates used for recording the deferred tax asset to reflect the tax rates anticipated to be in effect when the temporary differences are expected to reverse and to reflect changes in enacted state and foreign tax rates, resulting in a decrease in the deferred tax asset and an increase in tax expense of $0.5 million. Our consolidated effective tax rate can vary from period to period depending on, among other factors, the geographic and business mix of our earnings and changes in tax legislation and tax rates. Due to our net deferred tax asset balance, a decrease in tax rates results in a reduction in our deferred tax balance and an increase in tax expense.
 
Quarterly Results of Operations
 
Our quarterly results have varied significantly as a result of:
 
  •  changes in trading volume due to market conditions, changes in the number of trading days in certain quarters, and seasonality effects caused by slow-downs in trading activity during certain periods;
 
  •  changes in the number of broker-dealers and institutional investors using our trading platform as well as variation in usage by existing clients;
 
  •  expansion of the products we offer to our clients and the effect of business acquisitions; and
 
  •  variance in our expenses, particularly employee compensation and benefits.
 
The following table sets forth certain consolidated quarterly income statement data for the eight quarters ended December 31, 2009. In our opinion, this unaudited information has been prepared on a basis consistent with our annual


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financial statements and includes all adjustments (consisting only of normal recurring adjustments) necessary for a fair statement of the unaudited quarterly data. This information should be read in conjunction with our Consolidated Financial Statements and related Notes included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The results of operations for any quarter are not necessarily indicative of results that we may achieve for any subsequent periods.
 
                                                                 
    Three Months Ended  
    Mar 31,
    Jun 30,
    Sep 30,
    Dec 31,
    Mar 31,
    Jun 30,
    Sep 30,
    Dec 31,
 
    2008     2008     2008     2008     2009     2009     2009     2009  
    (In thousands)  
 
Revenues
                                                               
Commissions
                                                               
U.S. high-grade(1)
  $ 12,402     $ 12,554     $ 10,777     $ 10,814     $ 13,515     $ 13,808     $ 16,306     $ 18,928  
Eurobond(2)
    4,589       5,120       4,427       4,010       4,142       4,712       5,497       5,988  
Other(3)
    2,304       2,464       2,015       2,052       2,789       3,310       3,486       3,651  
                                                                 
Total commissions
    19,295       20,138       17,219       16,876       20,446       21,830       25,289       28,567  
Technology products and services(4)
    767       2,676       2,646       2,466       2,023       2,096       2,601       3,058  
Information and user access fees(5)
    1,481       1,442       1,562       1,540       1,655       1,504       1,519       1,574  
Interest income(6)
    991       761       963       763       332       234       314       342  
Other(7)
    405       620       291       183       176       175       286       418  
                                                                 
Total revenues
    22,939       25,637       22,681       21,828       24,632       25,839       30,009       33,959  
                                                                 
Expenses
                                                               
Employee compensation and benefits
    11,018       11,576       11,173       10,043       11,442       11,917       13,127       13,788  
Depreciation and amortization
    1,780       1,816       2,494       1,789       1,791       1,679       1,654       1,666  
Technology and communications
    2,106       2,048       2,007       2,150       2,242       2,120       2,029       2,045  
Professional and consulting fees
    2,153       2,521       1,822       1,675       1,879       1,613       1,645       1,732  
Occupancy
    767       739       660       725       676       693       706       1,054  
Marketing and advertising
    684       685       708       955       645       708       651       878  
General and administrative
    1,467       1,493       1,719       1,478       1,226       1,373       1,654       1,757  
                                                                 
Total expenses
    19,975       20,878       20,583       18,815       19,901       20,103       21,466       22,920  
                                                                 
Income before income taxes
    2,964       4,759       2,098       3,013       4,731       5,736       8,543       11,039  
Provision for income taxes
    1,368       1,911       579       1,077       1,892       2,549       3,903       5,603  
                                                                 
Net income
  $ 1,596     $ 2,848     $ 1,519     $ 1,936     $ 2,839     $ 3,187     $ 4,640     $ 5,436  
                                                                 
 
 
(1) Of these amounts, $1,920, $2,137, $1,928, $1,761, $1,985, $2,039, $2,276 and $2,457, respectively, were from related parties.
 
(2) Of these amounts, $804, $873, $788, $738, $783, $933, $1,049 and $1,052, respectively, were from related parties.
 
(3) Of these amounts, $429, $437, $378, $273, $302, $378, $363 and $486, respectively, were from related parties.
 
(4) Of these amounts, $15, $7, $3, $8, $9, $10, $9 and $7, respectively, were from related parties.
 
(5) Of these amounts, $53, $73, $81, $69, $61, $64, $60 and $58, respectively, were from related parties.
 
(6) Of these amounts, $267, $209, $310, $379, $90, $58, $36 and $30, respectively, were from related parties.
 
(7) Of these amounts, $43, $45, $45, $38, $42, $38, $37 and $35, respectively, were from related parties.


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The following tables set forth trading volume and average variable transaction fee per million traded for the eight quarters ended December 31, 2009.
 
                                                                 
    Three Months Ended  
    Mar 31,
    Jun 30,
    Sep 30,
    Dec 31,
    Mar 31,
    Jun 30,
    Sep 30,
    Dec 31,
 
    2008     2008     2008     2008     2009     2009     2009     2009  
    (In billions)  
 
Trading Volume Data
                                                               
U.S. high-grade
  $ 38.8     $ 42.7     $ 27.5     $ 25.6     $ 36.8     $ 37.9     $ 47.0     $ 55.4  
Eurobond
    8.1       11.8       8.6       7.2       9.1       13.2       16.6       17.9  
Other
    17.6       15.3       12.9       10.4       14.1       15.7       16.8       18.7  
                                                                 
Total
  $ 64.5     $ 69.8     $ 49.0     $ 43.2     $ 60.0     $ 66.8     $ 80.4     $ 92.0  
                                                                 
 
                                                                 
    Three Months Ended  
    Mar 31,
    Jun 30,
    Sep 30,
    Dec 31,
    Mar 31,
    Jun 30,
    Sep 30,
    Dec 31,
 
    2008     2008     2008     2008     2009     2009     2009     2009  
 
Average Variable Transaction Fee Per Million
                                                               
U.S. high-grade
  $ 112     $ 111     $ 118     $ 150     $ 175     $ 163     $ 186     $ 187  
Eurobond
  $ 105     $ 110     $ 100     $ 131     $ 128     $ 131     $ 145     $ 140  
Other
  $ 131     $ 161     $ 156     $ 200     $ 197     $ 210     $ 208     $ 195  
Total
  $ 116     $ 122     $ 126     $ 159     $ 173     $ 168     $ 182     $ 180  
Number of U.S. trading days
    61       64       64       62       61       63       64       62  
Number of U.K. trading days
    62       63       65       64       63       61       65       64  
 
Liquidity and Capital Resources
 
During the past three years, we have met our funding requirements through cash on hand, internally generated funds and the issuance of Series B Preferred Stock. Cash and cash equivalents and securities available-for-sale totaled $174.3 million at December 31, 2009. Other than a capital lease obligation amounting to $1.2 million as of December 31, 2009, we have no long-term or short-term debt and do not maintain bank lines of credit.
 
Our cash flows were as follows:
 
                         
    Year Ended December 31,  
    2009     2008     2007  
    (In thousands)  
 
Net cash provided by operating activities
  $ 43,327     $ 27,634     $ 29,120  
Net cash (used in) investing activities
    (44,165 )     (22,499 )     (11,179 )
Net cash (used in) provided by financing activities
    (2,646 )     30,311       (27,015 )
Effect of exchange rate changes on cash
    (498 )     (834 )     (215 )
                         
Net (decrease) increase for the period
  $ (3,982 )   $ 34,612     $ (9,289 )
                         
 
Operating Activities
 
Net cash provided by operating activities of $43.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2009 consisted of net income of $16.1 million, adjusted for non-cash charges, primarily consisting of depreciation and amortization of $6.8 million, stock-based compensation expense of $8.4 million, deferred taxes of $12.3 million and an increase in cash used for working capital of $0.9 million. The use of working capital primarily resulted from an increase in accounts receivable of $10.5 million, offset by increases in accrued employee compensation of $4.7 million, deferred revenue of $2.0 million and accounts payable, accrued expenses and other liabilities of $2.8 million.
 
Net cash provided by operating activities of $27.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2008 consisted of net income of $7.9 million, adjusted for non-cash charges, primarily consisting of depreciation and amortization of


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$7.9 million, stock-based compensation expense of $7.1 million, deferred taxes of $4.8 million and provision for bad debts of $1.3 million, offset by an increase in cash used for working capital of $1.3 million. The use of working capital primarily resulted from a decrease in accrued employee compensation of $4.2 million and a decrease in accounts payable, accrued expenses and other liabilities of $3.2 million, offset by a decrease in accounts receivable of $5.8 million.
 
Net cash provided by operating activities of $29.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2007 consisted of net income of $10.3 million, adjusted for non-cash charges, primarily consisting of depreciation and amortization of $7.2 million, stock-based compensation expense of $5.6 million and deferred taxes of $4.7 million and a decrease in working capital of $0.9 million. The decrease in working capital primarily resulted from an increase in accrued employee compensation of $1.5 million and an increase in accounts payable, accrued expenses and other liabilities of $0.8 million, offset by an increase in accounts receivable of $1.4 million.
 
Investing Activities
 
Net cash used in investing activities of $44.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2009 primarily consisted of net purchases of securities available-for-sale of $35.3 million, purchases of furniture, equipment and leasehold improvements of $4.9 million, capitalization of software development costs of $1.9 million and an earn-out payment relating to the Greenline acquisition of $1.4 million.
 
Net cash used in investing activities of $22.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2008 primarily consisted of $34.9 million for the acquisition of Greenline, purchases of furniture, equipment and leasehold improvements of $1.7 million and capitalization of software development costs of $2.4 million, offset by net maturities of securities available-for-sale of $16.3 million,
 
Net cash used in investing activities of $11.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2007 primarily consisted of the acquisition of TWS for $3.1 million, net purchases of securities available-for-sale of $2.5 million, purchases of furniture, equipment and leasehold improvements of $1.5 million and capitalization of software development costs of $3.4 million.
 
Financing Activities
 
Net cash used in financing activities of $2.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2009 primarily consisted of dividends paid of $2.7 million.
 
Net cash provided by financing activities of $30.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2008 primarily consisted of the net proceeds from the issuance of the Series B Preferred Stock and related common stock purchase warrants of $33.5 million, offset by the purchase of treasury stock of $2.8 million.
 
Net cash used in financing activities of $27.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2007 primarily consisted of $34.6 million for the purchase of treasury stock, offset by proceeds from the exercise of stock options of $5.2 million and excess tax benefits from stock-based compensation of $2.2 million.
 
Other Factors Influencing Liquidity and Capital Resources
 
We are dependent on our broker-dealer clients who are not restricted from buying and selling fixed-income securities, directly or through their own proprietary or third-party platforms, with institutional investors. None of our broker-dealer clients is contractually or otherwise obligated to continue to use our electronic trading platform. The loss of, or a significant reduction in the use of our electronic platform by, our broker-dealer clients could reduce our cash flows, affect our liquidity and have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
 
We believe that our current resources are adequate to meet our liquidity needs and capital expenditure requirements for at least the next 12 months. However, our future liquidity and capital requirements will depend on a number of factors, including expenses associated with product development and expansion and new business opportunities that are intended to further diversify our revenue stream. We may also acquire or invest in technologies, business ventures or products that are complementary to our business. In the event we require


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any additional financing, it will take the form of equity or debt financing. Any additional equity offerings may result in dilution to our stockholders. Any debt financings, if available at all, may involve restrictive covenants with respect to dividends, issuances of additional capital and other financial and operational matters related to our business.
 
We have three regulated subsidiaries, MarketAxess Corporation, MarketAxess Europe Limited and MarketAxess Canada Ltd. MarketAxess Corporation is a registered broker-dealer in the U.S., MarketAxess Europe Limited is a registered multilateral trading facility in the U.K. and MarketAxess Canada Ltd. is a registered Alternative Trading System in the Province of Ontario. As such, they are subject to minimum regulatory capital requirements imposed by their respective market regulators that are intended to ensure general financial soundness and liquidity based on certain minimum capital requirements. The relevant regulations prohibit a registrant from repaying borrowings from its parent or affiliates, paying cash dividends, making loans to its parent or affiliates or otherwise entering into transactions that result in a significant reduction in its regulatory net capital position without prior notification to or approval from its principal regulator. The capital structures of our subsidiaries are designed to provide each with capital and liquidity consistent with its business and regulatory requirements. The following table sets forth the capital requirements, as defined, that the Company’s subsidiaries were required to maintain as of December 31, 2009:
 
                         
    MarketAxess
    MarketAxess
    MarketAxess
 
    Corporation     Europe Limited     Canada Limited  
    (In thousands)  
 
Net capital
  $ 26,935     $ 19,308     $ 456  
Minimum net capital required
    2,194       2,788       261  
                         
Excess net capital
  $ 24,741     $ 16,520     $ 195  
                         
 
We execute certain bond transactions between and among institutional investor and broker-dealer clients on a riskless principal basis by serving as counterparty to both the buyer and the seller in matching back-to-back trades, which are then settled through a third-party clearing organization. MarketAxess Corporation acts as intermediary on a riskless principal basis in these bond transactions by serving as counterparty to the two clients involved. Settlement typically occurs within one to three trading days after the trade date. Cash settlement of the transaction occurs upon receipt or delivery of the underlying instrument that was traded. Under a securities clearing agreement with the independent third party, MarketAxess Corporation maintains a collateral deposit with the clearing broker in the form of cash or U.S. government securities. As of December 31, 2009 and 2008, the collateral deposit included in securities and cash provided as collateral in the Consolidated Statements of Financial Condition was $0.5 million. MarketAxess Corporation is exposed to credit risk in the event a counterparty does not fulfill its obligation to complete a transaction. Pursuant to the terms of the securities clearing agreement between MarketAxess Corporation and the independent clearing broker, the clearing broker has the right to charge MarketAxess Corporation for losses resulting from a counterparty’s failure to fulfill its contractual obligations. The losses are not capped at a maximum amount and apply to all trades executed through the clearing broker. At December 31, 2009, MarketAxess Corporation had not recorded any liabilities with regard to this right.
 
In the ordinary course of business, we enter into contracts that contain a variety of representations, warranties and general indemnifications. Our maximum exposure from any claims under these arrangements is unknown, as this would involve claims that have not yet occurred. However, based on past experience, we expect the risk of loss to be remote.
 
Prior to 2009, we retained all earnings for investment in our business. In October 2009, our Board of Directors approved a regular quarterly dividend. The first quarterly cash dividend of $0.07 per share was paid to our stockholders in November 2009 and a quarterly cash dividend of $0.07 per share will be paid on March 3, 2010 to stockholders of record as of the close of business on February 17, 2010. We expect the total amount payable to be approximately $2.7 million. We expect to continue paying regular cash dividends, although there is no assurance as to such dividends. Any future declaration and payment of dividends will be at the sole discretion of our Board of Directors.


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Effects of Inflation
 
Because the majority of our assets are liquid in nature, they are not significantly affected by inflation. However, the rate of inflation may affect our expenses, such as employee compensation, office leasing costs and communications expenses, which may not be readily recoverable in the prices of our services. To the extent inflation results in rising interest rates and has other adverse effects on the securities markets, it may adversely affect our financial position and results of operations.
 
Contractual Obligations and Commitments
 
As of December 31, 2009, we had the following contractual obligations and commitments:
 
                                         
    Payments due by period  
          Less than
                More than
 
    Total     1 year     1 - 3 years     3 - 5 years     5 years  
    (In thousands)  
 
Operating leases
  $ 22,408     $ 1,777     $ 3,935     $ 3,934     $ 12,762  
Capital leases
    1,370       336       672       362        
Foreign currency forward contract
    28,299       28,299                    
                                         
    $ 52,077     $ 30,412     $ 4,607     $ 4,296     $ 12,762  
                                         
 
We enter into foreign currency forward contracts with a noncontrolling stockholder broker-dealer client to hedge the exposure to variability in foreign currency cash flows resulting from the net investment in our U.K. subsidiary. As of December 31, 2009, the notional value of the foreign currency forward contract outstanding was $28.0 million and the gross and net fair value liability was $0.3 million.
 
As of December 31, 2009, we had unrecognized tax benefits of $2.9 million. Due to the nature of the underlying positions, it is not currently possible to schedule the future payment obligations by period.
 
In January 2010, our board of directors approved a quarterly dividend to be paid to the holders of the outstanding shares of capital stock. A cash dividend of $0.07 per share of common stock outstanding or issuable upon conversion of shares of non-voting common stock and Series B Preferred Stock outstanding, will be payable on March 3, 2010 to stockholders of record as of the close of business on February 17, 2010. We expect the total amount payable to be approximately $2.7 million.
 
Recent Accounting Pronouncements
 
See Note 2 to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for a discussion of recent accounting pronouncements.
 
Item 7A.    Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk.
 
Market risk is the risk of the loss resulting from adverse changes in market rates and prices, such as interest rates and foreign currency exchange rates.
 
Market Risk
 
The global financial services business is, by its nature, risky and volatile and is directly affected by many national and international factors that are beyond our control. Any one of these factors may cause a substantial decline in the U.S. and global financial services markets, resulting in reduced trading volume and revenues. These events could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
 
As of December 31, 2009, we had a $71.0 million investment in securities available-for-sale. Adverse movements, such as a 10% decrease in the value of these securities or a downturn or disruption in the markets for these securities, could result in a substantial loss. In addition, principal gains and losses resulting from these securities could on occasion have a disproportionate effect, positive or negative, on our financial condition and results of operations for any particular reporting period.


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See also Item 1A . Risk Factors , “Risks Related to Our Industry — Economic, political and market factors beyond our control could reduce demand for our services and harm our business, and our profitability could suffer .”
 
Interest Rate Risk
 
Interest rate risk represents our exposure to interest rate changes with respect to the money market instruments, U.S. Treasury obligations and short-term fixed-income securities in which we invest. As of December 31, 2009, our cash and cash equivalents and securities available-for-sale amounted to $174.3 million and were primarily invested in money market instruments, U.S. government obligations and municipal securities. We do not maintain an inventory of bonds that are traded on our platform.
 
Derivative Risk
 
Our limited derivative risk stems from our activities in the foreign currency forward contract market. We use this market to mitigate our U.S. dollar versus Pound Sterling exposure that arises from the activities of our U.K. subsidiary. As of December 31, 2009, the notional value of our foreign currency forward contracts was $28.0 million. We do not speculate in any derivative instruments.
 
Credit Risk
 
We act as a riskless principal through our subsidiary, MarketAxess Corporation, in certain transactions that we execute between clients. We act as an intermediary in these transactions by serving as counterparty to both the buyer and the seller in matching back-to-back bond trades, which are then settled through a third-party clearing organization. Settlement typically occurs within one to three trading days after the trade date. Cash settlement of the transaction occurs upon receipt or delivery of the underlying instrument that was traded.
 
We are exposed to credit risk in our role as trading counterparty to our clients. We are exposed to the risk that third parties that owe us money, securities or other assets will not perform their obligations. These parties may default on their obligations to us due to bankruptcy, lack of liquidity, operational failure or other reasons. Adverse movements in the prices of securities that are the subject of these transactions can increase our risk. Where the unmatched position or failure to deliver is prolonged, there may also be regulatory capital charges required to be taken by us. The policies and procedures we use to manage this credit risk are new and untested. There can be no assurance that these policies and procedures will effectively mitigate our exposure to credit risk.


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Item 8.    Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.
 
MARKETAXESS HOLDINGS INC.
 
INDEX TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
 
         
    62  
Audited Consolidated Financial Statements
       
    63  
    64  
    65  
    66  
    67  
    68  
 
The unaudited supplementary data regarding consolidated quarterly income statement data are incorporated by reference to the information set forth in Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” in the section captioned “Quarterly Results of Operations.”


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MANAGEMENT’S REPORT ON INTERNAL CONTROL OVER FINANCIAL REPORTING
 
Management of MarketAxess Holdings Inc. is responsible for establishing and maintaining adequate internal control over financial reporting as defined in Rules 13a-15(f) and 15d-15(f) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The Company’s internal control over financial reporting is designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles. The Company’s internal control over financial reporting includes those policies and procedures that:
 
(i) pertain to the maintenance of records that, in reasonable detail, accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and dispositions of the assets of the Company;
 
(ii) provide reasonable assurance that transactions are recorded as necessary to permit preparation of financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, and that receipts and expenditures of the Company are being made only in accordance with authorizations of management and directors of the Company; and
 
(iii) provide reasonable assurance regarding prevention or timely detection of unauthorized acquisition, use or disposition of the Company’s assets that could have a material effect on the financial statements.
 
Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Also, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate.
 
Management assessed the effectiveness of the Company’s internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2009. In making this assessment, management used the criteria set forth by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission in Internal Control — Integrated Framework .
 
Based on our assessment and those criteria, management concluded that the Company maintained effective internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2009.
 
The effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2009 has been audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, an independent registered public accounting firm, as stated in their report which appears herein.


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Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm
 
To the Board of Directors and Stockholders of MarketAxess Holdings Inc.:
 
In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements listed in the accompanying index present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of MarketAxess Holdings Inc. and its subsidiaries at December 31, 2009 and 2008, and the results of their operations and their cash flows for each of the three years in the period ended December 31, 2009 in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America. Also in our opinion, the Company maintained, in all material respects, effective internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2009, based on criteria established in Internal Control — Integrated Framework issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO). The Company’s management is responsible for these financial statements, for maintaining effective internal control over financial reporting and for its assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting, included in the accompanying “Management’s Report on Internal Control over Financial Reporting.” Our responsibility is to express opinions on these financial statements and on the Company’s internal control over financial reporting based on our integrated audits. We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States). Those standards require that we plan and perform the audits to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement and whether effective internal control over financial reporting was maintained in all material respects. Our audits of the financial statements included examining, on a test basis, evidence supporting the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements, assessing the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, and evaluating the overall financial statement presentation. Our audit of internal control over financial reporting included obtaining an understanding of internal control over financial reporting, assessing the risk that a material weakness exists, and testing and evaluating the design and operating effectiveness of internal control based on the assessed risk. Our audits also included performing such other procedures as we considered necessary in the circumstances. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinions.
 
A company’s internal control over financial reporting is a process designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. A company’s internal control over financial reporting includes those policies and procedures that (i) pertain to the maintenance of records that, in reasonable detail, accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and dispositions of the assets of the company; (ii) provide reasonable assurance that transactions are recorded as necessary to permit preparation of financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, and that receipts and expenditures of the company are being made only in accordance with authorizations of management and directors of the company; and (iii) provide reasonable assurance regarding prevention or timely detection of unauthorized acquisition, use, or disposition of the company’s assets that could have a material effect on the financial statements.
 
Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Also, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate.
 
/s/   PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
 
New York, New York
February 24, 2010


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MARKETAXESS HOLDINGS INC.
 
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION
 
                 
    As of December 31  
    2009     2008  
    (In thousands, except share and per share amounts)  
 
ASSETS
Cash and cash equivalents
  $ 103,341     $ 107,323  
Securities available-for-sale
    70,997       35,227  
Securities and cash provided as collateral
    4,971       4,316  
Accounts receivable, including receivables from related parties of $3,431 and $1,930, respectively, net of allowance of $859 and $1,012 as of December 31, 2009 and 2008, respectively
    23,150       13,283  
Furniture, equipment and leasehold improvements, net of accumulated depreciation
               
and amortization
    6,856       3,369  
Software development costs, net of accumulated amortization
    3,420       4,521  
Goodwill and intangible assets, net of accumulated amortization
    37,530       39,546  
Prepaid expenses and other assets
    3,041       3,177  
Deferred tax assets, net
    23,980       35,666  
                 
Total assets
  $ 277,286     $ 246,428  
                 
 
LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY
Liabilities
               
Accrued employee compensation
  $ 15,157     $ 10,439  
Deferred revenue
    4,262       2,303  
Accounts payable, accrued expenses, and other liabilities, including payables to related parties of $29 and $11 as of December 31, 2009 and 2008, respectively
    11,050       8,878  
                 
Total liabilities
    30,469       21,620  
                 
Commitments and Contingencies (Note 14)
               
Series B Preferred Stock, $0.001 par value, 35,000 shares authorized, issued and
               
outstanding as of December 31, 2009 and 2008, liquidation preference of $1,000 per share
    30,315       30,315  
                 
Stockholders’ equity
               
Preferred stock, $0.001 par value, 4,855,000 shares authorized, no shares issued and outstanding as of December 31, 2009 and 2008
           
Series A Preferred Stock, $0.001 par value, 110,000 shares authorized, no shares issued and outstanding as of December 31, 2009 and 2008
           
Common stock voting, $0.003 par value, 110,000,000 shares authorized, 34,654,957 shares and 33,971,309 shares issued as of December 31, 2009 and 2008, respectively
    104       102  
Common stock non-voting, $0.003 par value, 10,000,000 shares authorized, 2,585,654 shares issued and outstanding as of December 31, 2009 and 2008
    9       9  
Additional paid-in capital
    313,896       305,508  
Receivable for common stock subscribed
    (713 )     (951 )
Treasury stock — Common stock voting, at cost, 2,864,120 shares as of December 31, 2009 and 2008, respectively
    (40,000 )     (40,000 )
Accumulated deficit
    (55,403 )     (68,855 )
Accumulated other comprehensive loss
    (1,391 )     (1,320 )
                 
Total stockholders’ equity
    216,502       194,493  
                 
Total liabilities and stockholders’ equity
  $ 277,286     $ 246,428  
                 
 
The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.


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MARKETAXESS HOLDINGS INC.
 
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS
 
                         
    Year Ended December 31,  
    2009     2008     2007  
    (In thousands, except share and per share amounts)  
 
Revenues
                       
Commissions
                       
U.S. high-grade, including $8,757, $7,746 and $21,840 from related parties for the years ended December 31, 2009, 2008 and 2007, respectively
  $ 62,557     $ 46,547     $ 52,541  
Eurobond, including $3,817, $3,207 and $4,960 from related parties for the years ended December 31, 2009, 2008 and 2007, respectively
    20,339       18,146       18,828  
Other, including $1,529, $1,513 and $4,641 from related parties for the years ended December 31, 2009, 2008 and 2007, respectively
    13,236       8,835       8,845  
                         
Total commissions
    96,132       73,528       80,214  
Technology products and services, including $35, $33 and $0 from related parties for the years ended December 31, 2009, 2008 and 2007, respectively
    9,778       8,555       742  
Information and user access fees, including $243, $276 and $798 from related parties for the years ended December 31, 2009, 2008 and 2007, respectively
    6,252       6,025       5,877  
Investment income, including $214, $1,165 and $2,062 from related parties for the years ended December 31, 2009, 2008 and 2007, respectively
    1,222       3,478       5,242  
Other, including $152, $169 and $452 from related parties for the years ended December 31, 2009, 2008 and 2007, respectively
    1,055       1,499       1,568  
                         
Total revenues
    114,439       93,085       93,643  
                         
Expenses
                       
Employee compensation and benefits
    50,274       43,810       43,051  
Depreciation and amortization
    6,790       7,879       7,170  
Technology and communications
    8,436       8,311       7,463  
Professional and consulting fees
    6,869       8,171       7,639  
Occupancy
    3,129       2,891       3,275  
Marketing and advertising
    2,882       3,032       1,905  
General and administrative, including $79, $57 and $207 to related parties for the years ended December 31, 2009, 2008 and 2007, respectively
    6,010       6,157       5,889  
                         
Total expenses
    84,390       80,251       76,392  
                         
Income before income taxes
    30,049       12,834       17,251  
Provision for income taxes
    13,947       4,935       6,931  
                         
Net income
  $ 16,102     $ 7,899     $ 10,320  
                         
Net income per common share
                       
Basic
  $ 0.44     $ 0.23     $ 0.32  
Diluted
  $ 0.42     $ 0.22     $ 0.30  
Weighted average shares outstanding
                       
Basic
    33,263,828       32,830,923       32,293,036  
Diluted
    38,081,980       35,737,379       34,453,195  
 
The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.


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MARKETAXESS HOLDINGS INC.
 
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CHANGES IN STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY AND ACCUMULATED OTHER COMPREHENSIVE LOSS
 
                                                                         
                                  Treasury
                   
          Common
                Receivable
    Stock -
          Accumulated
       
    Common
    Stock
          Additional
    for Common
    Common
          Other
    Total
 
    Stock
    Non -
          Paid-In
    Stock
    Stock
    Accumulated
    Comprehen-
    Stockholders’
 
    Voting     Voting     Warrants     Capital     Subscribed     Voting     Deficit     sive Loss     Equity  
    (In thousands)  
 
Balance at December 31, 2006
  $ 88     $ 11     $ 11,658     $ 265,030     $ (1,042 )   $ (2,653 )   $ (87,074 )   $ (733 )   $ 185,285  
Comprehensive income:
                                                                       
Net income
                                        10,320             10,320  
Cumulative translation adjustment and foreign currency exchange
                                                                       
hedge, net of tax
                                              (213 )     (213 )
Unrealized net gains on securities available-for-sale, net of tax
                                              62       62  
                                                                         
Total comprehensive income
                                                                    10,169  
Effect of adoption of change in accounting principle
                      324                               324  
Stock-based compensation
                      5,634                               5,634  
Exercise of stock options and grants of restricted stock
    2                   5,189                               5,191  
Excess tax benefits from stock-based compensation
                      2,160                               2,160  
Conversion from non-voting to voting common stock
    2       (2 )                                          
Exercise of warrants
    7             (11,658 )     11,651                                
Repayment of promissory notes
                            208                         208  
Purchase of treasury stock
                                  (34,574 )                 (34,574 )
                                                                         
Balance at December 31, 2007
    99       9             289,988       (834 )     (37,227 )     (76,754 )     (884 )     174,397  
Comprehensive income:
                                                                       
Net income
                                        7,899             7,899  
Cumulative translation adjustment and foreign currency exchange
                                                                       
hedge, net of tax
                                              (410 )     (410 )
Unrealized net loss on securities available-for-sale, net of tax
                                              (26 )     (26 )
                                                                         
Total comprehensive income
                                                                    7,463  
Stock-based compensation
                      7,061                               7,061  
Issuance of common stock related to the acquisition of
                                                                       
Greenline Financial Technologies, Inc. 
    2                   5,773                               5,775  
Exercise of stock options and grants of restricted stock,
                                                                       
net of withholding tax on stock vesting
    1                   (318 )                             (317 )
Decrement in windfall from stock-based compensation
                      (191 )                             (191 )
Issuance of common stock purchase warrant
                      3,195                               3,195  
Repayment of promissory notes and adjustment of prior year
                                                                       
principal and interest balances
                            (117 )                       (117 )
Purchase of treasury stock
                                  (2,773 )                 (2,773 )
                                                                         
Balance at December 31, 2008
    102       9             305,508       (951 )     (40,000 )     (68,855 )     (1,320 )     194,493  
                                                                         
Comprehensive income:
                                                                       
Net income
                                        16,102             16,102  
Cumulative translation adjustment and foreign currency exchange
                                                                       
hedge, net of tax
                                              (331 )     (331 )
Unrealized net gain on securities available-for-sale, net of tax
                                              260       260  
                                                                         
Total comprehensive income
                                                                    16,031  
Stock-based compensation
                      8,414                               8,414  
Exercise of stock options and grants of restricted stock,
                                                                       
net of withholding tax on stock vesting
    2                   240                               242  
Decrement in windfall from stock-based compensation
                      (266 )                             (266 )
Repayment of promissory notes
                            238                         238  
Cash dividend on common stock and Series B Preferred Stock
                                        (2,650 )           (2,650 )
                                                                         
Balance at December 31, 2009
  $ 104     $ 9     $     $ 313,896     $ (713 )   $ (40,000 )   $ (55,403 )   $ (1,391 )   $ 216,502  
                                                                         
 
The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.


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MARKETAXESS HOLDINGS INC.
 
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS
 
                         
    Year Ended December 31,  
    2009     2008     2007  
    (In thousands)  
 
Cash flows from operating activities
                       
Net income
  $ 16,102     $ 7,899     $ 10,320  
Adjustments to reconcile net income to net cash provided by operating activities:
    6,790       7,879       7,170  
Depreciation and amortization
                       
Stock-based compensation expense
    8,414       7,061       5,634  
Deferred taxes
    12,255       4,819       4,696  
Provision for bad debts
    652       1,260       412  
Changes in operating assets and liabilities, net of businesses acquired:
                       
(Increase) decrease in accounts receivable, including (increase) decrease of ($1,501), $4,360 and $2,289 from related parties for the years ended December 31, 2009, 2008 and 2007, respectively
    (10,519 )     5,785       (1,362 )
Decrease (increase) in prepaid expenses and other assets
    136       (221 )     81  
Increase (decrease) in accrued employee compensation
    4,718       (4,228 )     1,480  
Increase (decrease) in deferred revenue
    1,959       618       (97 )
Increase (decrease) in accounts payable, accrued expenses and other liabilities, including increase (decrease) of $18, ($166) and $67 to related parties for the years ended December 31, 2009, 2008 and 2007, respectively
    2,820       (3,238 )     786  
                         
Net cash provided by operating activities
    43,327       27,634       29,120  
                         
Cash flows from investing activities
                       
Acquisition of businesses, net of cash acquired (Note 3)
    (1,368 )     (34,918 )     (3,139 )
Securities available-for-sale:
                       
Proceeds from maturities
    22,062       46,281       46,242  
Purchases
    (57,406 )     (29,959 )     (48,722 )
Securities and cash provided as collateral
    (655 )     139       (657 )
Purchases of furniture, equipment and leasehold improvements
    (4,909 )     (1,677 )     (1,533 )
Capitalization of software development costs
    (1,889 )     (2,365 )     (3,370 )
                         
Net cash (used in) investing activities
    (44,165 )