Broker/dealers in Europe are being squeezed on all sides as a consequence of economic conditions and competition which has decreased buy side commissions, according to a report by TowerGroup. The report noted that exchanges have continually raised costs and direct market access has become more prevalent. Commenting on the current European infrastructure, the report found that a lack of open competition, diverse technology platforms and inefficiencies in the clearing process would not be sustainable in the long term. The exchanges themselves are under increasing pressure to show growth, lower costs, and permit more open competition, it explained. The report went on to note that technology is already being leveraged to minimize the cost of access and trading in Europe. As internal budget constraints ease, broker/dealers are adapting their order management and market access technology to fit new business models, balancing the level of their cross-border business with the cost of access, membership, communications and clearing, according to the findings.
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