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These Banks Do the Best Trading in Asia

Buy-side trading desks rank the top firms in trading and execution in II’s All-Asia Trading Team.

A cadre of firms led Institutional Investor’s 2021 All-Asia Trading Team, with top finishes across pan-Asia trading, high touch, and electronic trading.

The sixth edition of the ranking, which returned after a two-year hiatus, polled traders of Asian ex-Japan equities and asked them to rank brokers on various attributes for execution and trading services.

These scores were aggregated on the firm level to recognize the best overall providers in Australia, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, Korea, Malaysia, India, and Taiwan, as well as across developing and frontier trading markets in Asia.

In a year dominated by the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. elections, and global trade tensions, Morgan Stanley took No. 1 in overall pan-Asia Trading and Execution, followed by Credit Suisse in second and JPMorgan Chase & Co. in third. 

In line with other II surveys, these results were weighted by each respondent’s secondary commission spend in the region to produce commission-weighted weightings.

For high-touch sales trading, providers were judged on their service quality, access to block liquidity, and ability to minimize market impact and maintain order anonymity, among other attributes. Morgan Stanley topped this as well, once again followed by JPMorgan in second. UBS placed third. 

In the electronic trading division, Credit Suisse was the winner, earning plaudits for algorithm customization and performance, transaction cost analysis, and market access and transparency. Morgan Stanley placed second, while UBS followed in third.

The four firms recognized in the survey all navigated a tumultuous year marked by not only the economic uncertainty ushered in by a global pandemic but also market volatility levels not seen since the financial crisis of 2008, according the World Federation of Exchanges. 

Compared to 2019, 2020 saw record-high levels of value traded, according to WFE’s annual report. While the biggest rise in equity trading took place in the EMEA region and the Americas — with increases of 68 percent and 67 percent, respectively — Asia was not immune to this surge in trading volumes across its regional exchanges. 

The Asia Pacific region registered nearly a 50 percent increase in trading volumes compared to the previous year, according to WFE.

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