Where to Get the Best Execution in Asia
Morgan Stanley once again leads II’s All-Asia Trading Team.
Morgan Stanley is still on top in Asia.
The firm has once again been recognized as No. 1 for trading and execution in Institutional Investor’s eighth annual All-Asia Trading Team.
Morgan Stanley extended its reign to three years in II’s polling of traders of Asian ex-Japan equities. Respondents were asked to rate their brokers across high-touch, Delta One/ETF, portfolio, and electronic trading, based on various attributes for each category. The attributes were then aggregated to produce the best brokers overall across pan-Asia and in the four sub-categories.
Across pan-Asia, JPMorgan repeated its second-place finish, followed by UBS in third. BofA Securities and Goldman Sachs captured the fourth and fifth spots, respectively.
The additional trading categories recognized the same cadre of top firms in the overall trading leaderboard, highlighting the competitive field in Asia. JPMorgan topped high-touch sales and Delta One/ETF trading, with Morgan Stanley coming second in each. UBS took the pole position in portfolio trading, with JPMorgan in second. And Morgan Stanley took first in electronic trading, where it was followed by Credit Suisse.
While the geopolitical backdrop and lower capital markets activity remained challenging for investors, Morgan Stanley has continued to invest in its client business and focus on best execution, according to Jack Clein, the firm’s head of equity distribution for Asia Pacific. “As we help our clients navigate opportunities in the region, ensuring we continue to provide best execution remains an essential part of our core strategy,” he said.
Travel returned to the region as re-openings continued and China abruptly abandoned its “Zero Covid” approach in late 2022. Clein reported that Morgan Stanley’s trading and execution teams — and their clients — were ready. “Following Asia’s reopening, we have been constantly reminded of the remarkable dedication demonstrated by our talent,” he said. “With the demands of our clients growing exponentially in 2023 and as business travel has resumed, our execution team have eagerly embraced opportunities to travel and connect with their clients in person.”
This also means investing in technology when necessary. “We are constantly looking to invest in areas where we feel we should be more competitive,” he said. “We adopt a three-dimensional view to our business — market, product, and vertical. We systematically invest in technology across this matrix to maintain and improve our leadership position.”
The biggest challenges and opportunities lie in the diversity of the region and sourcing liquidity in Asia’s evolving trading and execution landscape, according to Clein. “Asia is a diverse region with growing complexity and unique characteristics, where corporate governance disciplines and associated best practices can be expected to continue to evolve,” he said. “Accordingly, heightened levels of diligence are required as we facilitate the appropriate engagement with our institutional clients. In addition, language barriers and cultural nuances require a wide range of skills to source liquidity, execute efficiently, and ultimately provide a caliber of experience that is valued by our clients.”