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SocGen Doubles Down on Execution Services

Traders Magazine Online News, February 4, 2019

John D'Antona Jr.

One global brokerage is doubling down on its global execution business.

Doubling down is one of the most thrilling moves in blackjack. It allows you to double your bet in the middle of a hand in exchange for one extra card. It's a risky gamble, as it usually ends one’s betting - if you receive a particularly low second card you can't hit again. But if the right card is dealt, it can significantly increase the chance of winning and making money.

Societe Generale has made a strategic business decision to double down and invest in its Global Execution Services (GES) unit in the US. GES globally focuses on electronic futures, options and equities, which see orders come in via DMA, FIX or FIX via algo trading, etc. And starting last year, the firm has been discussing and working closely with its electronic FX team, and electronic reach teams as well. Increasing its investment in people and technology. the firm looks to catapult its GES unit and help more client meet their respective investment and trading goals.

Recently, Morgan Downey, Head of Distribution for GES, sat down with Traders Magazine’s editor John D’Antona Jr. and discussed the state of the firm’s business. To hear Downey tell it, over the past few years, GES, which provides cross-asset trading and execution services for institutional traders, broker-dealers, and hedge fund managers, has poured resources into hiring and innovation.

Downey told Traders Magazine the strategic changes employed so far have contributed to GES’ 20% year-over-year increase in notional volumes traded. These include technological developments like NOVA, a proprietary, in-house algo solution that allows GES to offer lower latency and greater algo customization to clients based on their specific execution needs.

TRADERS MAGAZINE: So, what is going on within the GES group? And what is the GES goal?

Morgan Downey: GES is the agency listed trading arm of Societe Generale , which includes a heavy focus on electronic trading. In fact, that has been one of the primary reasons for the merging of derivatives and equity staff, bringing high and low touch desks together. In the Americas, we’ve seen a dramatic decrease in receiving orders over the phone - almost everything nowadays is coming in via FIX electronic trading platforms.

Our goal – provide client coverage and solutions.  I think we hear these phrases a lot these days, but we’re really focused on that message.  Markets continue to evolve, with new market centers, regulatory burdens, different liquidity profiles, new participants, and even decreasing participants (particularly in the futures space).  With all that, clients have questions, and want to hear from us what we’re evaluating and how we can help.

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