The future of the buy-side trading desk was supposed to belong to the algorithm - or so the argument went. In the calmer market conditions typifying the early and middle years of this decade, the ability of increasingly powerful algorithmic tools to slice, dice and execute orders at inhuman speeds proved immensely valuable to those buy-side firms that had implemented them. Then came the credit crisis, which laid that and many other arguments to rest.

Designed to perform optimally in markets with