Liquidity is the driving criterion for institutional convertibles investors in selecting their brokers, both for institutions in the United States and in Europe, according to study by Greenwich Associates. An overwhelming percentage of investors in both markets list trading quality to be either ‘extremely’ or ‘very important’ with 98% of institutions in Europe and 94% of U.S. institutions giving such ratings to that category. Further, institutions in both markets indicate they award about half of the commissions to brokers solely on the basis of their capability and willingness to provide liquidity. These investors cite brokers‚ convertibles underwriting capability and sales coverage quality as the second- and third-most-important selection criteria, respectively. While European and U.S. institutions using convertibles are remarkably similar in most respects, one key difference is in the risk profile of their portfolios. In the U.S, 47% of the average convertibles portfolio is invested in below-investment-grade instruments, versus just 25% in Europe.
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