Waters Rankings 2020: Best Execution Management System (EMS) Provider—LIST

Pisa, Italy-based LIST might not yet be an instantly recognizable name for many of WatersTechnology’s readers, but its domination of the best execution management system (EMS) provider category in this year’s Waters Rankings suggests that it already has a significant following.

LIST is no one-trick pony: It won the market surveillance product of the year category in this year’s Risk Technology Awards, thanks to its LookOut market surveillance, regulatory reporting and business analysis platform. Neither is it a startup: It was founded back in 1985 and, according to Enrico Melchioni, head of business analysts and marketing team at LIST, while its focus has traditionally been on its local market, it has also been involved in larger initiatives. “We were part of the team that built the back-end of the MTS Markets platform [now part of the London Stock Exchange Group] and we have been involved in a number of continent-wide projects as a technology provider,” he says.

LIST’s EMS is a module of the firm’s FastTrade suite that can be implemented as part of an entire trading front-end or as a standalone EMS sitting alongside other third-party offerings. It supports electronic trading and execution across fixed-income and equities markets and covers all aspects of trading and execution. “We provide connectivity, either directly to trading venues or to brokers; we provide the ability to aggregate prices across venues; we offer full market-making support—pricing, quoting and distribution; and we cover the EMS part, including price discovery, dynamic order routing, algorithmic execution, risk management and regulatory compliance,” Melchioni says. 

According to Melchioni, while LIST’s EMS supports post-trade transaction-cost analysis (TCA), its real value to users is its real-time, pre-trade TCA functionality, especially with current market conditions. “One of the key features is the ability to analyze markets pre-trade and route executions to the best possible venues, taking into account prices published on each venue, speed and probability of execution, and specific execution costs for particular channels, brokers or venues,” he says.

Melchioni explains that LIST has been working on machine learning and new techniques that can be applied to users’ data that leverage past history as a means of providing better answers for pricing, execution and routing, although they also support market-making functions. “We have built a machine learning toolkit that is used for different tasks and one of these is to improve best execution and the routing capability of the system,” he says. “We are still experimenting with the application of machine learning to best execution, but we are planning to incorporate it into our product very soon.”

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