Best for electronic equities programme trading: Morgan Stanley
Highly commended: Lehman Brothers, ITG
At first glance, every broker that demonstrated its programme trading product appeared to be a contender. All had a complete suite of pre-trade, intra-trade, and post-trade analytic tools, and all the products also appeared to be closely matched in their flexibility.
Despite these similarities, Morgan Stanley wins because it is strong across all areas that Euromoney examined. These included analytics tools across the trading cycle, the quality of algorithmic engines, and the flexibility afforded to users in connectivity. It also covered the ability to specify settlement instructions and to tap alternative liquidity sources, the flexibility of front ends, and client feedback. It isn’t the strongest in every area but it is always one of the strongest.
Morgan Stanley’s pre-trade analytics suite is not the nicest to use but is one of the more sophisticated. The theoretical model used to predict market impact cost is calibrated with real measurements from millions of Morgan Stanley’s own trades that are mapped against contextual historical tick data. This quality of information behind the model is a real strength on its own but additionally the pre trade analytics model considers the "shape" of market impact cost, which changes with speed of execution and with the changing composition of the portfolio as trading is done.