12.05.2018
By Terry Flanagan

Equity Trading in Focus

What is being disrupted in institutional equities trading, and who are the disruptors?

What are the latest methodologies in liquidity sourcing?

How can traders best navigate the market structure of today — and tomorrow?

Those are a few of the big-picture questions that will be addressed at Worldwide Business Research’s Equities Leaders Summit USA, which takes place Dec. 5-7 in Miami. The event aims to empower the buy side to exploit advanced trading strategies and technologies and build a winning equity trading desk.

More than 270 equities professionals will convene in South Florida for the ELS, which is in its fourth year. This year’s event will be 175% bigger than the inaugural gathering in 2015, according to WBR.

“We are delighted with the buy side growth of the Equities Leaders Summit, which has become the largest annual meeting place for leaders across the full U.S. equities market value chain,” said Lucy Bradley, conference director at WBR. “Our agenda hones down into the latest updates on the constant evolution of market structure and technological innovation, all aimed at giving our buy-side delegates the competitive edge in equity trading.”

Wednesday, Dec. 5 will feature buy-side-only workshops. Thursday, Dec. 6, the main conference day,  will include panel sessions under the broad topic umbrellas of disruption and liquidity; Friday Dec. 7 will be about succeeding in a new market order.

Enrico Cacciatore, Voya IM

There have been significant innovations in the equities market in recent years, especially with advancements in data analytics and algorithms that have further transformed the landscape to one that is more systematic,” said Enrico Cacciatore, Head of Market Structure and Trading Analytics at Voya Investment Management. “As a result, automation, innovations in aggregating liquidity as well as leveraging machine learning are three trends we have seen the industry really embracing as a path for the future.”  

This year’s ELS caps a turbulent year in equities, which will be an underlying theme of the event. Cacciatore said: “As markets experience increased volatility and uncertainty of how much longer the robust bull market will continue, we can expect many of the panel discussions and roundtables will debate how growth and innovations in ETFs, AI and algorithmic trading will perform in 2019 and beyond.”  

Cacciatore speaks on a Thursday afternoon panel about exploiting new trading strategies.

Joseph Bacchi, Acadian Asset Management

Regulation continues to be a common denominator for many equity-market participants; this is not a surprise in that the trading ecosystem continues to face many moving parts, as has been the case for most of this decade. For example, Markets in Financial Directive II is almost a year old, and traders, technologists and compliance officers on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean are still acclimating to the impacts of the European ruleset.  

“The regulatory environment tends to end up in most conversations,” at industry events such as ELS, said Joseph Bacchi, Head of Multi-Asset Trading and Investment Operations at Acadian Asset Management. “You can be talking about execution, which will lead into TCA, which leads into MiFID II. You can talk about cost cutting, and wallet expansion or shrinkage, which leads back to regulation.”

Bacchi speaks on a Thursday afternoon panel about how technology is shaping the future of capital markets.

For traders, bottom-line objectives of attending conferences are learning and getting better at their jobs, whether it pertains to optimizing technology, sourcing liquidity, analyzing venues, or any other aspect of achieving best execution. This is especially important in a market that is constantly evolving with new features and choices.

Adam Gould, Tradeweb

“Giving investors and traders genuine, differentiated execution protocols needs to be an enduring focus of this market,” said Adam Gould, Head of U.S. Equity Derivatives at Tradeweb. “Electronic RFQ platforms, as an example, are fairly new in the U.S. equity space.  The recent growth in this form of trading in the ETF market illustrates the utility of alternatives to those investors looking to trade efficiently, and at size, in high-speed markets.”

Gould speaks on a Friday morning panel about the rise of ETF trading.

Emerging technologies have been a hot topic this year; artificial intelligence and machine learning in particular have gained traction for how they are being applied to equity trading, rather than being just concepts under development.

“The use of ML and AI promises to be a key topic of discussion,” said David Firmin, Head of Global Trading Research at Instinet. “We will be looking to push past the general hype and discuss specifics — truly practical applications that can dramatically transform business practices, and enhance clients’ execution quality and workflow.”

David Firmin, Instinet

Firmin speaks on a Thursday morning panel about revolutionizing the trading landscape with machine learning.

And of course, outside of the panels, there is the networking. Said Voya’s Cacciatore: “I am excited to take some time away from the markets, before the holidays kick off, to get face-to-face with the leaders and be part of shaping the future of our equity markets.”

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