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Richard Johnson, Greenwich Associates

Outsourced trading gaining popularity with US institutional asset managers and hedge fund managers, says new report

A new report by Greenwich Associates has found high levels of satisfaction among US institutional asset management and hedge fund professionals currently employing outsourced trading services, with 71 per cent of survey respondents describing themselves as “extremely satisfied” with their providers.

The report, ‘Outsourced Trading: Helping the Buy Side Improve Execution and Enhance Operational Efficiency’, identifies key market developments that have led to the rise of outsourced trading firms. These include heightened best execution requirements, increasing complexity and sophistication of trading tools and technology, market structure challenges, and shrinking commissions (68 per cent of study participants reported that generating commissions for all brokers is the biggest challenge in managing their sell-side relationships). The top reasons clients of outsourced trading are satisfied include: the need for additional support for their own trading desks (47 per cent), cost savings (33 per cent) and improved execution performance (26 per cent).
Twenty per cent of investors named ‘special situations’ as a reason for engaging outside help. Depending on the chosen outsourced trading firm, such expertise could include equity derivative/options trading (obviating the need to hire an options trader), exposure to international markets (without having to open a desk overseas or hire someone to work through the night), and help in overcoming regulatory or local market challenges. Asset managers can work with one or multiple outsourced trading providers, and can outsource some or all of their trading workflow.
“We’ve received substantial interest from the buy side in learning more about outsourced trading,” says Richard Johnson (pictured), Vice President of Greenwich Associates Market Structure and Technology and author of the report. “Historically, only smaller or emerging managers had used outsourced trading, but we spoke with some firms managing over USD20 billion in assets that now employ these services, and for a variety of reasons. We say to institutional investors that have considered outsourcing previously: it’s time for another look, as the product on offer is really developing and addressing today’s challenges in engaging with the sell side.”

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