The chief finding of the paper is that MiFID has effectively "more of a carrot than a stick effect," in its approach to modernising Europe's capital markets. In short, the regulatory push to a more open environment actually provides new opportunities for capital markets firms to strategically adapt and gain market share.
For the most part, the beneficiaries will be the firms that aim to go beyond the regulator's requirements, focusing instead on their clients' need for improved liquidity discovery. The structural changes to the market, which include the growth of new multilateral trading facilities, are levelling the playing field for liquidity discovery. Liquidity will no longer be 'sticky' but instead will roam the marketplace in search of the best deal.
According to the paper, in order to capitalize on this opportunity, firms must invest in the newly available smart-order routing and liquidity discovery technologies. The firms that are the first movers in this initiative will be able to establish themselves as leaders in the market and as the preferred providers of liquidity to their clients and other market participants, which will boost market share.
"The opportunity for capital markets firms in this new environment is very clear," said Delaney, "Firms will need to adapt to these new market structures in order to serve their clients. As these firms become known for their ability to identify liquidity in the fragmented markets and execute at competitive price, cost, and market impact level, they will become more competitive."
In addition, the paper notes institutions that do not quickly adopt new technology run the risk that their market share will be snapped up by more aggressive and larger players. The paper also provides a guide to the key characteristics of solutions for liquidity discovery and order routing.
Bannert-Thurner states: "Despite liquidity fragmentation taking a firm grip on Europe's capital markets, only a handful of firms are currently equipped to locate and exploit the better prices and liquidity available. From a technical standpoint, successful systems must embrace the latest low-latency techniques and must focus on the European aspects of market fragmentation in order to engender success. Ultimately, firms are faced with a decision; act and embrace change, or be left behind."