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Trading data and tools after COVID-19

Quentin Limouzi
Quentin Limouzi
Head of Buy-side Trading, Refinitiv

COVID-19 volatility has caused huge disruption in global markets, and has been the catalyst for traders to move towards actively managed investing. How will the trading data and tools employed during the crisis help traders to continue managing risk, compliance, and spotting new investment opportunities afterwards?


  1. The deep impact of COVID-19 on global markets has caused the trading environment to move into a new era that is dominated by price-driven trading.
  2. The agility and flexibility of actively managed investing is now better equipped to deal with the market volatility, shifting trading away from being primarily passive investing.
  3. Once the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided, how will access to appropriate trading data and tools continue to help traders to respond to investment opportunities?

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The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on financial markets has left many traders feeling like they are flying blind.

They are dealing with high levels of market volatility and evaporating liquidity, resulting in record volumes of trading. Even with some hints of improvement, no one really knows how long this crisis mode will last.

But it does signal a new era dominated by price-driven trading.

From passive to active trading

It’s a traders’ market.

There are lots of opportunities to trade not just on fundamentals but also on price. As a result, we’ve seen trading move away from primarily passive investments to more actively managed funds.

The reason: The agility and flexibility of active management is more equipped to handle market volatility and give traders an edge.

This traders’ market is characterized by a shortened holding horizon, for example, when a stock falls 60 percent and then afterwards bounces 35 percent. It allows an active trader to get in and out of a stock multiple times in the span of a few days or weeks, rather than relying on mid- to long-term projections and fundamentals to decide whether to trade long or short.

It’s important to buy and sell what’s right — right now. This means having the appropriate data and tools to respond when the opportunity arises.

How can trading data and tools help?

Because of the volatility, our clients saw more than double the usual trading over our Refinitiv REDI EMS platform in March, at the peak of the crisis.

The ease with which traders were able to manage risk, compliance and new opportunities in the disrupted environment signals a new era. So, even when the world gets back to their offices, it’s likely that many of these shifts will become the norm.

Here are the new ways of working that will likely stick around:

Remote trading
Timing will remain key. And with how traders are able to invest, the flexibility offered by cloud-based platforms like Refinitiv AlphaDesk and REDI EMS mean that it doesn’t really matter if you’re home or at the office.

Traders can leverage a range of workflow solutions and execution tools to access liquidity and execute a large number of trades in smarter ways.

The information you need is there — when you need it, from wherever you are.

Portfolio management
Since Refinitiv acquired AlphaDesk, we now have an end-to-end solution that will carry you from trade inception to execution with data and automation easily accessible in a single place.

REDI EMS provides real-time information, access to powerful electronic trading tools and quick access to the market so you can trade multiple stocks at once.

Not only are you able to mitigate risk, but you can also take advantage of price distortions and stay an active trader.

Data and analytics
Reliable data and the right integration are key to help make quick trading decisions.

Recently, we worked with Joel Sebold from our Refinitiv Labs team. We analyzed price behavior and depth of LOB (Limit Order Book), for a near month E-mini future contract, comparing January (pre-volatility spike) and March (mid-volatility spike).

The Density, Mean Spread and Trading Aggressiveness comparison between January and March all point to a market that moved from tight and dense, to wide and illiquid in a very drastic manner.

This, combined with significant increase in trading volumes, resulted in very large intraday price swings.

These data points could be very valuable to a trader or portfolio manager looking to assess current liquidity conditions which drive price impact.

With our analytics and Labs team, we are constantly looking at new ways to display and distribute analytics to improve the trader’s experience, with the buy-side trader in mind.

Multi-asset capabilities
In many cases, active managers can also switch investments around different asset classes.

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen moves on all asset classes, all at once, and the ability to reallocate funds from one asset to another could certainly have helped mitigate risk or make winning trades.

We believe the trader of the future will trade all asset classes, and we are building our buy-side trading systems to solve that need.

End-to-end workflows
An end-to-end workflow allows traders to trade smarter and faster with REDI EMS.

With direct links to portfolios, profit and loss statements, and risk and compliance systems, it is a robust investment solution that caters to both long-term investors and active traders.

This versatility and scalability are crucial, especially in times of volatility, and should help drive buyers’ decisions in the future.

Watch — The Future of Trading: People and Machines

The tools to capture the big deal

In this environment, there are specific opportunities. But they don’t necessarily last very long.

Traders and investment managers need the right information to act fast. That means having automated tools to alert you at just the right moment so you don’t miss out on the opportunity to capture that big deal.

Execute trades confidently with our multi-asset trading solutions covering pre- to post-trade workflows with comprehensive real-time data, efficient execution and reliable post-trade service

The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the firm, its clients, or Refinitiv, or any of its respective affiliates. This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice.

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REDI Global Technologies LLC is a member of FINRA/SIPC. REDI Technologies Ltd. is authorized and regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority. This communication is only intended for institutional customers and eligible counterparties as defined by the respective regulators/authorities. REDI services and related services are not available in all jurisdictions.