OPINION: OMS Vendor to Feel Outsourced Trading Pain


In every win-win situation, there is still a chance to have a loser. In outsourced trading, it will be those who own the pipes between the buy and sell sides, the order management system providers.

Asset managers can reduce their expenses by outsourcing a portion or all of their trading desks as well as benefit from the economies-of-scale provided that they never had.

The outsourced trading desks benefit from the additional order flow going across their blotters, which shows no sign of abating.

A recent two-part research report published by industry analyst firm Tabb Group estimates that the outsourced trading market will grow between 25% and 50% over the next few years based on a poll of outsourced traders.

“Outsourced trading introduces economies of scale and efficiency gains into the buy-side trading process at a time when MiFID II and the unbundling of research put the cost of trading into the limelight, this while competition from passive funds has intensified fee compression,” said Michael Mollemans, a senior analyst at Tabb Group and the report’s author, in a prepared statement.

As order flow migrates to these outsourced trading desks from asset managers’ internal desks, it could provide the asset managers with handy cudgels, which they could use the next time they renegotiate their OMS licenses.

However, it depends on which outsourced trading model the asset managers chose to employ: There are many. If their a portion or all of their order flow hits the sell side’s blotters directly from the outsourced trading desk, fewer messages are crossing the OMS vendor’s network. If an OMS license includes a per-message fee, fewer messages mean less revenue.

The second whammy for the OMS vendor is the chance they won’t be able to recapture the order flow routed to the outsourced trading desk. Not many of them employ multiple OMS platforms.

The OMS vendors that service the outsourced trading desks could see a bump in message volume. Whether that increase would offset the loss of message traffic from the individual asset managers is questionable.

And as the outsourced desks generate more trading traffic from their growing customer base, it puts them in a better negotiating position when they eventually need to renegotiate their OMS licenses.

If the trend continues, which it will, it will be a lose-lose proposition for the OMS vendors.

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