J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs top the list of Greenwich Associates 2017 Share Leaders℠ in U.S. Equities, besting all rivals in both research/advisory vote share and trading commission share. However, even these leaders are being forced to contend with a secular slowdown in trading activity that has shrunk the equity trading commission pool and reduced revenues.
The pool of commissions earned by brokers on trades of U.S. equities within the Greenwich Associates universe contracted 11–12% last year to an estimated $8.4 billion. That drop marked the third consecutive year of decline. The total amount of commissions collected by brokers on trades of U.S. equities has dropped roughly 27% since 2011.
Broker-dealers were hoping for a turnaround in the first quarter of 2017, when trading revenue for the top U.S investment banks (including equities and FICC) jumped some 15%. Banks, their clients and investors were optimistic this surge would continue into Q2 and beyond.
“The institutions participating in our 2017 study were predicting a 3–4% increase in the equity commission pool to nearly $9 billion by Q1 2018,” says Greenwich Associates Managing Director Jay Bennett. “By late May, however, several banks were signaling the market that the pace of trading had slowed once again, and that trading revenues were likely to disappoint—again.”
2017 Greenwich Share Leaders
The 2017 Greenwich Share Leaders in U.S. Equity Trading are J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, which are statistically tied for first place, followed by Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse.
In the list of Greenwich Leaders in U.S. Equity Research/ Advisory Vote Share, J.P. Morgan holds the top spot by itself, followed by Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs in second, Bank of America Merrill Lynch in fourth place, and Citi and Barclays, which tie for the final spot.
In the increasingly important category of U.S. Equity Algorithmic Trading, the 2017 Greenwich Share Leaders are Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, followed by the trio of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, J.P. Morgan and Sanford C. Bernstein, which are statistically tied for third.
Robert W. Baird maintains its position as the top broker used for U.S. small/mid-cap equities. In a statistical tie for second place are Raymond James, J.P. Morgan and Jefferies, while KeyBanc/Pacific Crest and Stifel Nicolaus tie for fifth.
2017 Greenwich Quality Leaders
As part of its 2017 U.S. Equity Investors Study, Greenwich Associates interviewed 315 institutional portfolio managers and 300 institutional traders about the brokers they use for U.S. equities. Study participants were asked to name the brokers they use, to estimate the amount of business done with each firm, and to rate the brokers in a series of product and service categories. Firms that received client ratings that top those of competitors by a statistically significant margin were named Greenwich Quality Leaders℠.
The 2017 Greenwich Quality Leaders in U.S. Equity Research Product & Analyst Service are J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Sanford Bernstein. The 2017 Quality Leaders in U.S. Equity Sales & Corporate Access are J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley. That duo is joined by Goldman Sachs in U.S. Equity Sales Trading & Execution Service.
The 2017 Greenwich Quality Leaders in both U.S. Small/Mid-Cap Equity Sales & Corporate Access and U.S. Small/Mid-Cap Research Product & Analyst Service are KeyBanc/Pacific Crest, Raymond James, Robert W. Baird, and William Blair.
In U.S Equity Electronic Trading, the 2017 Greenwich Quality Leaders are J.P. Morgan, Jefferies and Sanford Bernstein. And in a new category, U.S. Equity Commission Management Service & Execution, Westminster/Cowen, ITG and Nomura/Instinet are the 2017 Greenwich Quality Leaders.
Between December 2016 and February 2017, Greenwich Associates interviewed 214 U.S. generalist equity portfolio managers, 101 small/mid-cap fund managers, 300 U.S. equity traders, and 74 portfolio traders at buy-side institutions.
The study participants were asked to evaluate the sales, research and trading services they receive from their equity brokers and to report on important market practices and trends.