“Advanced Data, Diversifying Business, and Options Gain Traction”: Experts’ Perspectives

by Tareq Sikder
  • Panelists of "Retail Trading in the EU” at FMLS highlighted unprecedented regulatory changes in retail trading within the EU.
  • The discussion noted a shift to advanced data sets, signaling increased respect for professional retail investors.
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In a recent panel discussion at Finance Magnates London Summit 2023, moderated by Rafah Hanna, the Director at Rafah Hanna, prominent industry figures gathered to delve into the ever-evolving landscape of retail trading within the European Union (EU).

The esteemed panel included Richard Barden, the Market Data Sales Director at CBOE; Mazhar Saleem, the Sales Director for Enterprise Data & Platform at LSEG; Joe Craven, the Global Head of Enterprise Solutions at TipRanks; and Richard Stoker, an Executive Director, the EMEA Head of Proprietary and Retail Trading, and the Global Head of Platform Solutions at CME Group.

Market Dynamics: Consolidation, Diversification, and the Role of White-Label Services

The central theme of the discussion revolved around the question of "Retail Trading in the EU: Diversification or Consolidation?" Hanna kickstarted the conversation by addressing the anticipated 40% growth in the retail trading market over the next five years, setting the stage for the exploration of unique characteristics, opportunities, and potential winners and losers in this dynamic landscape.

Richard Barden, Market Data Sales Director at CBOE
Richard Barden, Market Data Sales Director at CBOE

Stoker highlighted the ongoing changes in the retail trading sector, underscoring the significance of Regulation headwinds. He stated: "The changes we're witnessing now in terms of regulatory headwinds are unprecedented. I believe this holds more significance than the ESMA rules introduced in 2016.”

Mazhar Saleem, Sales Director, Enterprise Data & Platform at LSEG
Mazhar Saleem, Sales Director, Enterprise Data & Platform at LSEG

“Some firms, relying on an extensive marketing approach and trading against their clients, may find their business model unsustainable. Clients seek diversified product offerings and educational resources. True access to the underlying market is crucial for long-term success. Moreover, success lies in diversifying into other asset classes, whether it's crypto, options, futures, or any other, and that's where substantial achievements are observed."

Saleem acknowledged the simultaneous trends of consolidation and diversification in the market. He noted a shift from supporting smaller players to larger firms taking up market share. Saleem mentioned the growing interest in white-label services, allowing larger players to offer solutions to smaller organizations aiming to enter new markets.

Craven, sharing insights from TipRanks, provided a unique perspective, serving millions of retail end-users monthly. He echoed sentiments of consolidation and predicted that well-established firms would absorb more clients while late entrants might face challenges. He noted a shift in product diversification, with increased interest in equities and alternative investments like ETFs and cryptocurrencies.

Barden discussed the interest in derivative products among retail brokers in Europe, particularly options. He speculated that this could be driven by a belief that options might serve as a regulatory hedge if leverage trading requirements tighten. He also touched upon the consolidation trend, observing smaller brokers being integrated into larger networks.

Barden mentioned: "Perhaps it's a mix of diversification and consolidation. In terms of diversification, especially coming from a derivatives-heavy exchange, we're witnessing increased interest from European retail brokers in derivative products. Notably, options have entered the conversation, marking a noteworthy trend.”

“Retail brokers are considering introducing options as a product set next year, and it's unclear whether this stems from the belief that options are a valuable product for retail trading or if it's a cautious move to use options as a potential regulatory hedge. The uncertainty lies in whether regulators will tighten leverage trading requirements, making options an easier option for leverage products."

Navigating the Future: Trends and Considerations in Retail Trading

The collective insights from the panelists pointed to increased accessibility of professional-level data for retail traders. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to a surge in stay-at-home trading, was discussed. The resulting influx of new traders, combined with changes in commission structures and market data licensing, reshaped the dynamics of the retail trading landscape.

Joe Craven, Global Head of Enterprise Solutions at TipRanks
Joe Craven, Global Head of Enterprise Solutions at TipRanks

Looking towards the future, the experts refrained from explicitly naming winners and losers, but they emphasized the importance of staying attuned to client needs and offering relevant products. The growth of options trading emerged as a notable trend, with micro-sized products gaining popularity among self-directed retail traders.

In a deeper exploration of TipRanks' perspective, Craven shed light on the company's mission to empower retail investors. TipRanks consolidates analyst recommendations from major financial institutions, synthesizes the information, and presents it through graphical tools. The goal is to offer retail investors the ability to conduct self-directed research with the same accuracy and data integrity as professionals but at a significantly lower cost.

Richard Stoker, Executive Director at CME Group
Richard Stoker, Executive Director at CME Group

Craven emphasized the disruption TipRanks brings to the alternative data space, offering their platform at $20 per month for individual users compared to competitors charging $1,500 to $2,000 per terminal. On the B2B side, they provide cost-effective solutions for enterprise clients like Santander and Morgan Stanley.

The moderator underscored the significance of these new businesses, which did not exist to this extent 20 years ago. The discussion then shifted to Barden, who shared insights on the exchange's retail-friendly data licensing policies, emphasizing the absence of end-user fees. He noted the evolution in policies across various exchanges, highlighting the diverse approaches and the competitive nature of the industry.

Barden also discussed the company's growth and retail-friendly product innovations, particularly in the zero days to expiry market for S&P 500 Index options. He emphasized their efforts to make real-time data freely available in Europe to facilitate low-cost and simple trading.

Saleem, representing the data feed side, shared his views on the changing landscape over the past five years, where there is greater respect for the professional retail investor. He additionally noted a shift from providing raw data to delivering more advanced data sets, such as news sentiment and analyst recommendations. This evolution has allowed brokers to offer better tools to retail investors, instilling confidence in their decision-making process. The regulatory perspective is further considered, with a focus on ensuring fair treatment for customers.

Saleem stated: "On the data feed side, our insights focus on points of interest, not volumes. With global asset class connections, we provide advanced data, including news sentiment and analyst recommendations, fostering a confident decision-making environment. This shift recognizes and respects the professional retail investor, allowing brokers to offer better tools for informed decisions."

Disruption and Adaptation: Evolution of Retail Trading Tools and Platforms

The discussion highlighted the industry's evolution, with companies like TipRanks disrupting the space by providing affordable and sophisticated tools for retail investors. Exchanges, such as CBOE, are adapting with retail-friendly policies and innovative product offerings. The data feed side, represented by Saleem, underscores the importance of providing advanced data sets to enhance decision-making for retail investors and foster a fair and confident trading environment.

The conversation continued with questions about the correlation between Forex and Contract for Difference (CFD) volumes and whether one subsidizes the other. Richard Bon from CME Group emphasized the evolving landscape, with brokers recognizing the need to pay for data and understanding the importance of transparency and data integrity.

The complexity of market data pricing models was also discussed, with a shift from flat fees to more sophisticated structures. The importance of understanding market data intricacies was emphasized, and the challenges faced by brokers in this dynamic environment were acknowledged.

Craven remarked: "Our focus is on retail investors and breaking down entry barriers. Through our B2C platform, we offer free access to a wealth of tools. Our mission is to democratize self-directed research and level the playing field for retail investors. At the most sophisticated level, our raw data, traditionally institutional, is now utilized by hedge funds, enabling them to trade off it with their algorithmic systems and generate Alpha."

The discussion involved various viewpoints on market data pricing, especially in the context of foreign exchange. The participants mentioned challenges related to wide spreads in currency markets and the importance of accurate pricing. Stoker emphasized the disparity between underlying prices and those on wider platforms during times of stress, citing examples such as the truss mini-budget and the Swiss de-pegging.

The moderator prompted for a quick response, and Craven briefly discussed the relationship between volumes in the underlying market and CFD trading. He noted that volumes typically flow through the underlying market first, and CFDs are now more widely available on various financial instruments. Additionally, Craven mentioned the tax benefits of trading CFDs, which may attract institutional investors.

In conclusion, the panel discussion provided valuable insights into the current state of retail trading in the EU, emphasizing the need for adaptation, diversification, and a keen understanding of regulatory changes to navigate the evolving landscape successfully. The collective expertise of the panelists shed light on industry trends, challenges, and opportunities, offering a comprehensive view of the intricate world of retail trading in the European Union.

In a recent panel discussion at Finance Magnates London Summit 2023, moderated by Rafah Hanna, the Director at Rafah Hanna, prominent industry figures gathered to delve into the ever-evolving landscape of retail trading within the European Union (EU).

The esteemed panel included Richard Barden, the Market Data Sales Director at CBOE; Mazhar Saleem, the Sales Director for Enterprise Data & Platform at LSEG; Joe Craven, the Global Head of Enterprise Solutions at TipRanks; and Richard Stoker, an Executive Director, the EMEA Head of Proprietary and Retail Trading, and the Global Head of Platform Solutions at CME Group.

Market Dynamics: Consolidation, Diversification, and the Role of White-Label Services

The central theme of the discussion revolved around the question of "Retail Trading in the EU: Diversification or Consolidation?" Hanna kickstarted the conversation by addressing the anticipated 40% growth in the retail trading market over the next five years, setting the stage for the exploration of unique characteristics, opportunities, and potential winners and losers in this dynamic landscape.

Richard Barden, Market Data Sales Director at CBOE
Richard Barden, Market Data Sales Director at CBOE

Stoker highlighted the ongoing changes in the retail trading sector, underscoring the significance of Regulation headwinds. He stated: "The changes we're witnessing now in terms of regulatory headwinds are unprecedented. I believe this holds more significance than the ESMA rules introduced in 2016.”

Mazhar Saleem, Sales Director, Enterprise Data & Platform at LSEG
Mazhar Saleem, Sales Director, Enterprise Data & Platform at LSEG

“Some firms, relying on an extensive marketing approach and trading against their clients, may find their business model unsustainable. Clients seek diversified product offerings and educational resources. True access to the underlying market is crucial for long-term success. Moreover, success lies in diversifying into other asset classes, whether it's crypto, options, futures, or any other, and that's where substantial achievements are observed."

Saleem acknowledged the simultaneous trends of consolidation and diversification in the market. He noted a shift from supporting smaller players to larger firms taking up market share. Saleem mentioned the growing interest in white-label services, allowing larger players to offer solutions to smaller organizations aiming to enter new markets.

Craven, sharing insights from TipRanks, provided a unique perspective, serving millions of retail end-users monthly. He echoed sentiments of consolidation and predicted that well-established firms would absorb more clients while late entrants might face challenges. He noted a shift in product diversification, with increased interest in equities and alternative investments like ETFs and cryptocurrencies.

Barden discussed the interest in derivative products among retail brokers in Europe, particularly options. He speculated that this could be driven by a belief that options might serve as a regulatory hedge if leverage trading requirements tighten. He also touched upon the consolidation trend, observing smaller brokers being integrated into larger networks.

Barden mentioned: "Perhaps it's a mix of diversification and consolidation. In terms of diversification, especially coming from a derivatives-heavy exchange, we're witnessing increased interest from European retail brokers in derivative products. Notably, options have entered the conversation, marking a noteworthy trend.”

“Retail brokers are considering introducing options as a product set next year, and it's unclear whether this stems from the belief that options are a valuable product for retail trading or if it's a cautious move to use options as a potential regulatory hedge. The uncertainty lies in whether regulators will tighten leverage trading requirements, making options an easier option for leverage products."

Navigating the Future: Trends and Considerations in Retail Trading

The collective insights from the panelists pointed to increased accessibility of professional-level data for retail traders. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to a surge in stay-at-home trading, was discussed. The resulting influx of new traders, combined with changes in commission structures and market data licensing, reshaped the dynamics of the retail trading landscape.

Joe Craven, Global Head of Enterprise Solutions at TipRanks
Joe Craven, Global Head of Enterprise Solutions at TipRanks

Looking towards the future, the experts refrained from explicitly naming winners and losers, but they emphasized the importance of staying attuned to client needs and offering relevant products. The growth of options trading emerged as a notable trend, with micro-sized products gaining popularity among self-directed retail traders.

In a deeper exploration of TipRanks' perspective, Craven shed light on the company's mission to empower retail investors. TipRanks consolidates analyst recommendations from major financial institutions, synthesizes the information, and presents it through graphical tools. The goal is to offer retail investors the ability to conduct self-directed research with the same accuracy and data integrity as professionals but at a significantly lower cost.

Richard Stoker, Executive Director at CME Group
Richard Stoker, Executive Director at CME Group

Craven emphasized the disruption TipRanks brings to the alternative data space, offering their platform at $20 per month for individual users compared to competitors charging $1,500 to $2,000 per terminal. On the B2B side, they provide cost-effective solutions for enterprise clients like Santander and Morgan Stanley.

The moderator underscored the significance of these new businesses, which did not exist to this extent 20 years ago. The discussion then shifted to Barden, who shared insights on the exchange's retail-friendly data licensing policies, emphasizing the absence of end-user fees. He noted the evolution in policies across various exchanges, highlighting the diverse approaches and the competitive nature of the industry.

Barden also discussed the company's growth and retail-friendly product innovations, particularly in the zero days to expiry market for S&P 500 Index options. He emphasized their efforts to make real-time data freely available in Europe to facilitate low-cost and simple trading.

Saleem, representing the data feed side, shared his views on the changing landscape over the past five years, where there is greater respect for the professional retail investor. He additionally noted a shift from providing raw data to delivering more advanced data sets, such as news sentiment and analyst recommendations. This evolution has allowed brokers to offer better tools to retail investors, instilling confidence in their decision-making process. The regulatory perspective is further considered, with a focus on ensuring fair treatment for customers.

Saleem stated: "On the data feed side, our insights focus on points of interest, not volumes. With global asset class connections, we provide advanced data, including news sentiment and analyst recommendations, fostering a confident decision-making environment. This shift recognizes and respects the professional retail investor, allowing brokers to offer better tools for informed decisions."

Disruption and Adaptation: Evolution of Retail Trading Tools and Platforms

The discussion highlighted the industry's evolution, with companies like TipRanks disrupting the space by providing affordable and sophisticated tools for retail investors. Exchanges, such as CBOE, are adapting with retail-friendly policies and innovative product offerings. The data feed side, represented by Saleem, underscores the importance of providing advanced data sets to enhance decision-making for retail investors and foster a fair and confident trading environment.

The conversation continued with questions about the correlation between Forex and Contract for Difference (CFD) volumes and whether one subsidizes the other. Richard Bon from CME Group emphasized the evolving landscape, with brokers recognizing the need to pay for data and understanding the importance of transparency and data integrity.

The complexity of market data pricing models was also discussed, with a shift from flat fees to more sophisticated structures. The importance of understanding market data intricacies was emphasized, and the challenges faced by brokers in this dynamic environment were acknowledged.

Craven remarked: "Our focus is on retail investors and breaking down entry barriers. Through our B2C platform, we offer free access to a wealth of tools. Our mission is to democratize self-directed research and level the playing field for retail investors. At the most sophisticated level, our raw data, traditionally institutional, is now utilized by hedge funds, enabling them to trade off it with their algorithmic systems and generate Alpha."

The discussion involved various viewpoints on market data pricing, especially in the context of foreign exchange. The participants mentioned challenges related to wide spreads in currency markets and the importance of accurate pricing. Stoker emphasized the disparity between underlying prices and those on wider platforms during times of stress, citing examples such as the truss mini-budget and the Swiss de-pegging.

The moderator prompted for a quick response, and Craven briefly discussed the relationship between volumes in the underlying market and CFD trading. He noted that volumes typically flow through the underlying market first, and CFDs are now more widely available on various financial instruments. Additionally, Craven mentioned the tax benefits of trading CFDs, which may attract institutional investors.

In conclusion, the panel discussion provided valuable insights into the current state of retail trading in the EU, emphasizing the need for adaptation, diversification, and a keen understanding of regulatory changes to navigate the evolving landscape successfully. The collective expertise of the panelists shed light on industry trends, challenges, and opportunities, offering a comprehensive view of the intricate world of retail trading in the European Union.

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