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Even the best aren't that good

Research into broker execution quality in the US cash equities market by Celent, a technology research consultancy, has produced some damning results.

Celent found that for orders of 10,000 shares and below, all 16 leading brokerage firms in the US deliver, on average, execution prices worse than the quote. UBS, which averaged a net share-weighted price worsening of 0.08 cents per share, topped the rankings for best execution in terms of prices, while Deutsche Bank, which averaged 0.97 cents per share ranked bottom.

Bear Stearns and UBS were found to achieve price improvement far more often than the rest, with Bear Stearns achieving price improvement on an impressive 92% of orders, while Banc of America Securities and Deutsche Bank were found to be well below average.

In terms of speed of execution, however, UBS was found to be far slower than the rest, taking an average of 6.4 seconds to execute small market orders of between 100 and 499 shares. Lehman, the next slowest, took an average of 4.7 seconds. Fidelity's NFS brokerage and Morgan Stanley were the two fastest, taking 0.1 seconds and 0.2 seconds respectively. For larger orders of between 5,000 and 9,999 shares Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank were the fastest, taking 2.7