We got our start in 1979 as an independent floor broker, fighting for the public instead of trading our own account. And we stuck with that approach when clients asked us to also represent them in Nasdaq-listed stocks, which were then traded by “over the counter” dealers. So in the late 1980s, we became one of the very first Nasdaq agency desks. Soon, market-structure changes ushered in new types of conflicts. Many brokers not only competed with their clients via prop desks, but also built algo suites and routers beholden to their own dark pools and programmed to minimize fees and maximize rebates even when purporting to act in an agency capacity. We chose a different path, avoiding the conflicts and pressure to put our own economic interests ahead of the best client outcomes. Consequently, we’re solely focused on selecting best-of-breed tools and choosing the best venues and strategies for your orders.
The leaders of our program trading team joined us in the late 90s and early 2000s. Not only are they very experienced, but they lived through the market-structure transformation that gave us today’s automation, fragmentation and complexity. Rather than resisting change, we embraced it. But we never forgot the advantages that a customized, high-touch approach could bring. In practice, that means our veteran traders leverage the insights our industry-leading market-structure group brings to venue analysis and understanding today’s markets. The desk also works in tandem with our crack analytics and visualization team of experts, to not only deliver top-notch pre- and post-trade analytics to clients, but also adjust trading strategies in real time to enhance alpha capture. Perhaps most importantly, our traders don’t adhere to a ‘set it and forget it’ mentality when handling client portfolios. Instead, we take a hands-on approach. That commonly includes pulling out names to work in individual dark pools. It also involves working seamlessly with the NYSE’s biggest floor team to boost fill rates and spread capture through the Exchange’s parity allocation system, plus taking advantage of unique order types that help maximize liquidity at and near the closing auction.
Over the decades, through multiple market cycles, this marriage of high-touch and cutting-edge automation and analytics has delivered results for institutional investors. Our longest-running relationships — a number dating more than two decades and one 30 years — are with pension funds and quants who measure and reward performance. We are happy to provide references.