Cogent Consulting says an enhancement to its CommTrak online money management system gives asset managers better control over their commission spending, whether they trade swaps, derivatives, options, futures, foreign exchange, equity or fixed income.
"This move provides money managers and their clients with transparency over where and how every commission dollar, pound, or euro is spent," explains Robin Hodgkins, president, Cogent.
Hodgkins says CommTrak's new capabilities were particularly relevant as increased automation of all major types of trading is leading proprietary trading desks, hedge funds and traditional asset managers to employ a wider variety of financial instruments. At the same time, clients are demanding increasing transparency on commission spending.
Cogent says one key to enhancing CommTrak was the creation of a data transformation engine that can convert trading data from any platform, database, or spreadsheet into a common file format. The other was software that enables money managers to input synthetic commission rates for any asset class where commissions are implicit, such as swaps, versus assets where commissions are explicit, such as equities.
Using CommTrak, Cogent says buy-side traders and portfolio managers can employ any of 70 built-in filters, featuring industry standard formulas and formats, to analyse and report their results on a firm-wide or individual account basis. Users can save filter settings for future use. Data can be exported to Excel and online delivery facilitates access by authorised users around the world.
"As part of our R&D, we surveyed the industry," says Hodgkins. "It is amazing how difficult it is for a buy-side firm to track how much is being spent on using Wall Street brokers for trading. And if a buy-side firm does compile this data, it is done manually, copying parts of reports into Excel spreadsheets, with little drill down detail and flexibility of analyses. Consequently, this has become a big issue," he remarks.
Hodgkins explains that CommTrak complements Cogent's ResearchTrak and HedgeTrak online broker review systems. "CommTrak tells you with precise detail where your commission dollars are being spent. ResearchTrak helps you decide on a consistent and repeatable basis whether you are getting the best deal," he notes.