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Symphony strikes a chord

I have been following the Symphony story with interest and the recent news that Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is looking to invest certainly got my attention. Is this the sound of the mighty Google taking its first lumbering steps into the world of capital markets, or just another of the many investments that Google makes? More importantly, what does this do to help Symphony? Well cash is always nice, but the real challenge for Symphony is... Read More

The rise of the Super Sales Trader

Spent a great few days in Madrid last week at the International Trader Forum. The event brings together key figures from the buy and sell-side to debate the current and future likely shape of the industry. One of the key predictions this time was the rise of a new type of sales trader. One that could do all the relationship stuff of before, but was also armed with new tools that enable them to source liquidity in size and provide real colour on... Read More

BATS auctions off the block problem

There has a been a lot of talk about how to trade blocks that are smaller than the LIS waiver but that are still too big to go to regular lit markets. The debate has been ratcheted up by the 4 and 8% dark pool caps that are part of the MiFID II spectre looming above us all. One approach, of course, is to chop your block into smaller pieces with an algo but this is becoming increasingly unattractive in an HFT-dominated world. Venues like Turquoise... Read More

The Dragon chasing its own tail

Few can have missed the carnage roiling Chinese stock markets recently. What’s interesting though is the emerging hubris from Western media that this is due to the intersection of communism and capitalism. The problem, they say, is that the purpose of markets is to allow free and open price discovery. However, they argue, a command economy like China can afford to tamper with this process and compel participants (like its state pension fund) to... Read More

Unbundling versus Best Ex

So, the September date looms for ESMA’s final clarification on unbundling. What seems evident is that payment for research with trading commissions is definitely going to be out. What seems less clear, though, is what can still be bundled into the definition of ‘execution’ and therefore still be paid for in commission dollars. Presumably, post-trade TCA services are included as they could just be thought of as a fancy form of invoice... Read More

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