UK Trading Costs Rise Since Brexit

Shanny Basar

It has cost fund managers an average of six additional basis points to trade UK equities since the UK voted to leave the European Union in June last year according to analysis by electronic broker ITG.

The Brexit referendum was held on June 23 2016.  ITG said the extra costs means that any investment firm trading up to £200m ($258m) per year would have to pay an extra £120,000.

Andre Nogueira, ‎head of EMEA Analytics client coverage at ITG said in an email:  “Given the current low volatility environment, it appears that, when it comes to trading costs, the UK has ended up with the worst end of a bargain since Brexit. In contrast, the clear trend for both Germany and particularly France is one of lower trading costs since Brexit.”

ITG said that since the referendum, the average cost of trading French equities is 19 basis points lower than the average cost of trading UK equities while the average cost of trading German equities is five basis points lower.

“The research, which is based on a database of almost 20% of total institutional trading activity, also showed costs doubling during the immediate aftermath of the June 2016 referendum results, before reverting back to historical ranges of between 20-40 basis points a few days later,’ said ITG.

The broker continued that trading costs also spiked around other events, including the triggering of Article 50 and European Parliament’s approval of Theresa May’s negotiation guidelines.

The study is based on information from the ITG Analytics Peer Database and analysed average U.K. equity trading costs on a rolling basis between May 1st 2016 and March 31st of 2017.

The Association for Financial Markets in Europe, The Boston Consulting Group and law firm Clifford Chance this week published a report, “Bridging to Brexit: Insights from European SMEs, Corporates and Investors” examining the impact of Brexit on on the use of wholesale banking and capital markets service by small-to-medium enterprises, corporates and investors.

“Most of our interviewees expect any challenges or increased costs to be absorbed by their banks. But this may be overly optimistic,” added the report. “The loss of passporting may cause some banks operating in the EU27 through a UK banking license to withdraw from the EU27, reducing the aggregate banking capacity available to companies and investors. The alternative option, of maintaining EU27 operations via subsidiarisation, is likely to be slow and costly.”

Large investors, such as insurers and asset managers, were worried that the loss of “passporting”, allowing financial institutions authorised in an EU member state to operate across the trading bloc, would require them to rely on many different national private placement regimes, creating costly friction and increasing costs.

“Many investors told us that existing contracts must be “grandfathered” to avoid harm to their own businesses and to their clients,” added the report.

The need to re-write contracts was another concern for some of the respondents, such as an EU27-based asset management firm that engages with London-based banks for securities and derivatives transactions.

“The administrative burden is likely to be significant, adding to the other legal and contract re-documentation processes that many asset managers are already going through,” said the report.

The study warned that the burden could be material for smaller firms.





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