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Best for equities direct market access: Morgan Stanley

Highly commended: Lehman Brothers

Morgan Stanley’s Windows-based Passport product provides extremely flexible and fast direct market access to over 50 equities markets. It also comes with advanced execution tools such as algorithmic trading engines and can be used to trade options, swaps, and futures.

It is well integrated with the bank’s other products such as its prime brokerage site and is designed to enable a head trader to easily view what other traders are doing. Users can see several levels of price data and send comments, questions, or feedback to Morgan Stanley.

Several other banks’ products do most if not all of these things, but not necessarily as well. Lehman Brothers is closely matched in all areas and only narrowly misses out on the award because it doesn’t have access to as many markets as Morgan Stanley and because some users may find having to use a different front end for trading futures and options an unnecessary complication.