After more than twenty-six years persevering in various global markets, GFI Group is particularly adept at adaptation in a volatile industry. Founded in 1987, the publicly traded brokerage firm was the first to offer over-the-counter United States government bond options to the industry. In the decades since, the company has expanded organically and through acquisitions—developments that extended its reach into fixed income derivatives, cash fixed income, emerging market financial products, energy and commodity derivatives, and equities. GFI Group’s broadened scope cultivated its hybrid approach to competitive wholesale market brokerage services, resulting in its state-of-the-art combination of voice brokering and trading platforms. It’s an evolutionary step that has not gone unnoticed.
In a decision based on pricing, liquidity provision, counterparty risk, speed of execution, and reliability, GFI Group was voted the No. 1 best broker in 2015, according to Energy Risk magazine. “We are committed to providing our clients with the best quality service,” says Colin Heffron, GFI Group’s chief executive officer. “The hard work and dedication our brokers, sales and e-commerce teams, middle and back office personnel, and all others that contribute to the high quality of our global offering in the energy and commodities sector have made this possible.”
Since the company is active in more than twenty-two countries, GFI Group’s general counsel Christopher D’Antuono works with Heffron to align business with financial regulation, ensuring that GFI Group and its subsidiaries effectively serve its global demand. In this case, Energy Risk’s top designation recognized GFI Group and its subsidiary Amerex, which provides access to global energy and commodities markets including power, natural gas, and environmental commodities. The achievement spans eight categories, including Coal, Iron Ore, Western Natural Gas, Natural Gas Europe- NBP (United Kingdom), Natural Gas Europe–TTF (Netherlands), Natural Gas Europe–GasPool, Power North America, and Power–Europe–France.
But that is just one financial arena in which GFI Group operates. More than 2,400 institutional clients benefit from GFI’s expertise in electronic and hybrid markets via brands such as GFInet, Trayport, GFI ForexMatch, EnergyMatch, FENICS, Starsupply, Amerex, and CreditMatch, according to the corporate website. The final brand specifically has caught the industry’s attention.
Last May, GFI Group launched an electronic trading platform for odd-lot corporate bonds (anything less than the standard one hundred shares for stocks) in the United States. The recent offering, available via CreditMatch, serves the dealer-to-dealer market for corporate bonds with a notional value of less than $1 million. “We are providing a muchneeded source of odd-lot liquidity to the dealer community,” Heffron says. “As a market leader in electronic execution across bonds and derivatives, we are delighted to offer clients an opportunity to trade in this growing sector of the corporate bond market.” Odd-lot transactions amount to almost 90 percent of trades in the interdealer corporate bond market, according to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FIRA).
To manage its extensive range of markets, GFI Group’s team is on the ground all over the world. Headquartered in New York, GFI Group employs more than 2,000 people internationally in places such as London, Paris, Brussels, Nyon, Dublin, Madrid, Texas, Hong Kong, Tel Aviv, Dubai, Seoul, Tokyo, Singapore, Sydney, Cape Town, Santiago, Bogota, Buenos Aires, Lima and Mexico City. The brokerage services company is a division of BGC Partners, a leading global brokerage company servicing the financial and real estate markets.
Linking these offices is the companywide philosophy that GFI Group is not only a leader in the industry but also outside of the workplace. Since 2007, GFI Group has supported the Bob Woodruff Foundation’s ReMind.org campaign that provides resources and support to injured servicemembers, veterans, and their families. “We feel fortunate to be able to align ourselves with such an important and worthwhile cause,” Heffron says. “The Bob Woodruff Foundation has made such a difference in the lives of wounded veterans, and it is our honor to be able to contribute to its good work.”
GFI Group employees regularly contribute to the national nonprofit’s fund-raising efforts in the annual Stand Up for Heroes event in New York. “GFI Group has been the strongest financial sponsor every year we’ve hosted this event,” says Dave Woodruff, co-chairman of the foundation. “Colin Heffron is setting an example of how to operate a business with a conscience. Even in the tough economic times of the last few years, GFI Group traders paid top dollar for tickets—following Colin’s lead. We’re fortunate to have him on our side.”
It’s true that the global economy is turbulent, which impacts nonprofits as well as the financial industry. Yet GFI Group’s scope and depth of influence offers a stabilizing partner that’s recognized for its ability to develop innovative financial strategies that withstand market conditions. Such adaptability is relentless, and a look ahead shows that GFI Group is not slowing down. It’s in the process of registering as a swap execution facility and designated contracts market in North America as well as an organized trading facility in Europe.