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MiFID II and Evolving Equity Execution

With Societe Generale Prime Services’ Francois Banneville

Fragmentation of equity market microstructure and liquidity has manifested in a near doubling of trading venues from 17 in 2007 to 30 a decade later, while average ticket sizes have been divided by seven, dropping from EUR 28-30,000 to EUR 4-5,000 over the same period. The increased complexity of navigating these markets has forced asset managers to raise their game. “Execution efficiency is a cost of doing business and it is getting harder and harder not to invest a lot of money”, says Francois Banneville, Societe Generale’s Prime Services Head of Execution, who has seen most of his clients reorganise their desks over the past two years. There have been two key trends. “One big theme was trading across asset classes. Another was trading electronically, partly to manage costs and increase the STP rate, but also to tackle more efficiently the evolving market microstructure”, he notes.

Against this backdrop, Societe Generale Prime Services has also seen its share of organisational change, starting with the acquisition and integration of Newedge into Prime Services in 2015, which THFJ covered. “We made a positive, bold, early move in acquiring Newedge. They are passionate about what they do and a leader in Listed Derivatives Clearing and Execution which complemented our Cash Equity business”, Banneville says. Initially, high touch equity execution was kept close to research but now, as Banneville points out, “MiFID II requires a complete decoupling of research and execution, not just unbundling. So, we have regrouped all cross-asset listed agency execution (high touch and low touch) under one roof, to present an even more comprehensive, integrated and holistic offering.” The global cross-asset execution team of 180 includes around 50 in the US hubs (New York, Chicago), 50 in London, 45 in Paris and satellite offices of Frankfurt, Madrid and Zurich, and 35 in APAC spread across Hong Kong, Sydney, Tokyo, Mumbai, Seoul and Taipei.

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