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Only 6 per cent of asset managers ready for MiFID II best execution standards

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Just 6 per cent of asset management firms believe they are currently ready to meet best execution requirements under MiFID II, according to “Re-Engineering Best Execution,” a new survey carried out by Liquidnet.

Some 61 per cent of respondents recognise their need to provide more granular detail to their policies, with a third planning to make changes to trading workflow, while over a quarter are specifically investing in technology to ensure a more systematic approach to best execution.
“Best execution no longer means a mere ‘look back and check’ on the outcome of an individual order. It is now the creation and implementation of a process that enables the trader to be in possession of as much valuable information as possible, throughout the lifecycle of a trade,” says Rebecca Healey, Head of EMEA Market Structure for Liquidnet. “This information allows traders to adapt execution strategies that protect against adverse market conditions, or benefit from opportunities as they arise.”
While transaction cost analysis (TCA) has been the traditional way that asset managers use to measure best execution, the industry has begun to see a shift towards more holistic Best Execution Analysis (BXA) inclusive of TCA. This allows trading desks to better understand and measure the full context of larger orders, as well as better analyse high touch and fixed income trading.
“With less than four months to go until full MiFID II implementation, firms now have to hit the reset button to ensure they meet the higher regulatory standards required,” Healey adds.
The survey reveals that 70 per cent of asset managers are now reviewing new liquidity providers outside of their traditional broker relationships. The execution landscape looks set for further change as a third of survey respondents plan to adjust their broker lists ahead of January 2018.
In addition, access to liquidity remains the number one requirement from 69 per cent of respondents in selecting execution partners, but how firms choose to access liquidity is diverging as unbundling demands a strategic re-think of which brokers to engage with, as well as where to trade.
Sixty four per cent meanwhile, believe they have a cohesive strategy for improving client outcomes – but over a third of respondents acknowledged that they still have more to do to move policies from a best-efforts and informal process to a firm-wide systematic execution process.
More than two-thirds are no longer choosing where to trade by broker alone – 35 per cent now select by strategy only with a further 33 per cent using a combination of both strategy and broker.
The increased level of scrutiny over evidencing broker selection requires firms to move away from a static “look back” on trading performance to a more holistic approach of Best Execution Analysis requiring more accurate and reliable data. Yet just 35 per cent are receiving all the FIX data they need from brokers.
Some 85 per cent of respondents acknowledged there was more that individual firms could do internally to improve execution performance. Buy-side firms are focusing on adverse venue selection or improving opportunity cost lost through adjustments to workflows such as PM timing, rather than just looking to their broker to enhance execution performance.
For 89 per cent of respondents, delivering enhanced best execution will require a significant difference in approach to the nuances of policy and process across the asset classes and methods of trading.
The lack of a viable TCA product in Fixed Income is leading 39 per cent of firms to rethink their use of TCA to deliver best execution, particularly when considering OTC products.
The impact of MiFID II implementation will extend beyond Europe’s borders given the operational complexity now required. Clients are demanding more detailed best execution evidence across the globe pre-, at and post- trade.

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