Greenwich Associates independent research commissioned by BT

Posted on May 8th, 2017 by Bobby Tam


The changing nature of trading-desk communication

One-on-one conversation has and will always be at the center of the financial markets. From its origins at the foot of the buttonwood tree in New York and in Jonathan’s Coffee House in London, buyers and sellers would meet and verbally communicate their interest to buy and sell and negotiate on price and quantity. Of course, trading has evolved significantly since those early days—to exchange floors and, in the past two decades, to trading desks all over the world.

Even as trading has become more electronic and geographically diverse, the role of voice communication remains as important a part of the trading process today as it was all those centuries ago. While the transmission of order details such as symbol, side, quantity, and price are communicated electronically, additional instructions, market color and unique insights on current market conditions are often best delivered via a phone call.

But how people communicate and the technology that supports them is changing. Unified communications and software solutions are gaining popularity and importance on the trading desk. Traders are becoming more fluid in how they work, seeking to use a variety of communication tools to conduct business and to have a more seamless experience switching between them. But firms also have to balance these new ways of communicating with increasingly demanding regulatory compliance obligations and are looking to use proactive surveillance solutions to improve insight and controls. And like all industries, firms need to reduce costs and complexity; technology and operations groups are looking for optimised cost of ownership, flexible cloud-based deployment options and operational agility; they want to be able to integrate their enterprise systems with their trading floor IT and combine cloud with on-premise solutions in the way that suits them best.

Greenwich Associates research report

In the summer of 2016, BT commissioned Greenwich Associates to conduct an independent survey to explore this changing landscape further. Greenwich Associates interviewed 108 trading professionals, including heads of desk and CIOs globally, to learn about their use of voice communication tools. Interviews were conducted with respondents in Asia, Continental Europe, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Respondents were asked a series of qualitative and quantitative questions about the use of voice in the trading process, how trading turrets are used and their expectations for the future.

Download the Research Report