Forefront Communications

The TRADE: The Big Interview: Peter Maragos

Amanda Perrucci

Amanda Perrucci

The chief executive of Dash Financial Technologies, Peter Maragos, discusses targeting growth in the US equities market and gives his views on the importance of order routing transparency, as well as the rebate debate.

Hayley McDowell: Dash currently has significant market share in US options, but how are you targeting growth in the US equities market?

Peter Maragos: We’ve always had a strong equity product – our platform has been multi-asset since the beginning – and though options was where the most opportunities were for us early on the key themes of performance, transparency and configurability, with a superior customer service overlay, are the same.

With that said, the market structure and the trends in equities has been very different from the options business. But the change in the equities market has certainly become more rapid, and we’ve seen it with the shift from active to passive, the emergence of quant investing, as well as an increased focus on best execution that has been brought about by MiFID II in Europe. It’s that heightened focus on best execution and the need for performance has really shifted the equities environment to hit our sweet spot.

HM: MiFID II has had a global impact. As a US-based agency execution firm, how has the regulation impacted Dash and its clients?

PM: For us, I would say MiFID II has had a global impact. A lot of the hedge funds and asset managers are global institutions and they’re not going to have different standards for different geographies. In this environment, the highest standards are going to be what’s used across the spectrum. You can’t have higher standards in the US than in the UK for instance, so there has been a trickle down in other geographies in terms of how buy-side firms are looking at their business and what they are focused on.

Clients are more focused than ever on best execution, performance and configurability because of MiFID II. Because a lot of the institutional community is global, these are the things that are top of mind for virtually all buy-side firms in the US, which fits our model perfectly.

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