Low-Touch woes vs Restaurant Wars

The other night, I was rewatching an episode from the popular US TV show ‘Top Chef’, where contestants form teams and open pop-up restaurants. If you’ve never seen restaurant wars, the challenge requires contestants to deliver high-quality food from the kitchen and provide great service at front-of-house. Too often, one of the teams loses because the service just isn’t there in the dining room.

This started me thinking about the many electronic trading desks that have launched over recent years and the demands they face servicing clients.

It’s obviously important to advertise and attract business with the promise of high-quality algos and execution. Having a great product is key. However, if you want to survive, you just can’t ignore the front-of-house experience.

Like in the dining room, some buy-side clients are low maintenance and will order from the menu. They’re on a schedule and want to get in and get out, having volume on their minds.

Others, however, clearly have sophisticated tastes and want to go a la carte. They want something special and usually they don’t mind paying more. These clients are going to test your agility in providing an exacting service.

  • Buy-side traders may have different needs and ways of expressing them.
  • You may need to reconfigure or switch between your algos.
  • Trader-intervention rules may need dialling up or down.
  • Informational needs on fills will require profiling.
  • The sell-side trader may also be expected to communicate real-time colour on order performance.

There are plenty of ways in which clients expect more. Desk managers who want to grow the business need the front-of-house to be running smoothly.

Thankfully, you can satisfy all these needs and leave the cooks in the kitchen. You just need the right OMS and a technology partner who is there during every service.

More on this topic in future blogs!

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