Algo Wheels: Best Execution, Workflow Solution, or Both?
Larry Tabb – Algo wheels help buy-side firms automate their algorithmic workflow and rationalize their usage of broker algorithms. The wheel not only simplifies the difficulty of allocating order flow to a specific broker, it also helps the buy-side trader ascertain the quality of the broker’s algos given differing liquidity patterns and trading situations. … When used for best execution a broker wheel pits similar algorithms against each other using A/B-type testing strategies. … Normalizing disparate algorithms to measure performance and ensure best execution are the algo wheel’s killer application. … But algo wheels don’t guarantee best execution by themselves. … As algo wheels gain traction, TABB Group sees buy-side firms supporting two different types of tools. The first set includes more generic algorithms that fit into an algo wheel, which will be used for more traditional VWAP, TWAP, IS, or dark accumulation strategies; and the second set contains those more customized algos that will be tailored to specific situations. … Increasingly, the buy-side trader’s job will be focused on ascertaining the appropriateness of using a wheel, and those times when a more specific and customized tool will provide a better outcome.