Fragmentation of equity market microstructure and liquidity has manifested in a near doubling of trading venues from 17 in 2007 to 30 a decade later, while average ticket sizes have been divided by seven, dropping from EUR 28-30,000 to EUR 4-5,000 over the same period. The increased complexity of navigating these markets has forced asset managers to raise their game. “Execution efficiency is a cost of doing business and it is getting harder and harder not to invest a lot of money,” says Francois Banneville, Societe Generale’s Prime Services Head of Execution, who has seen most of his clients reorganise their desks over the past two years. There have been two key trends. “One big theme was trading across asset classes. Another was trading electronically, partly to manage costs and increase the STP rate, but also to tackle more efficiently the evolving market microstructure,” he notes.