The Wall Street Journal has a great featured piece today on the importance of the sales trader, which is something we at Greenwich have been out talking about quite a bit over the last few months. The WSJ story features our latest equity research (although the direct quote was unfortunately cut by the editors – sorry Mom) showing that e-trading has shown little growth over the last few years with investors instead paying extra for high touch service.
Last year, about 55% of stock trading by dollar volume took place in a “high-touch” fashion, among human beings communicating one on one and agreeing on the price, according to consulting firm Greenwich Associates, which surveys hundreds of large investors every year. That is still down from the past two years, but only slightly. The figure was 57% in 2012 and 56% in 2011.
In 2004, before the introduction of new trading technologies and the proliferation of high-speed trading, the number was 71%.
It is important to note that once these orders are given to the brokers by the client, nearly all of them are traded electronically because, well, what other options are there? The floor of the NYSE is the pinnacle of high touch service, but even much of what is traded down there is still done via the screen.
That all said, despite my firm belief that technology innovation makes the world go ’round and that it’s good for economic growth, people will always be at the center of this business.