Jeremy Ellis has been with T Rowe Price since 2000, having started his career with defunct stockbroker Scrimgeour-Kemp Gee.
Like everyone else, Ellis has been focused on Mifid II both internally and through working with industry working in groups.
“Our broker review process has always been very thorough, transparent and from the advisory perspective, we are making sure we’re connecting our inhouse expertise with the street’s experts,” he explains. “We’ve seen the growth of electronic trading. We were early adopters.”
Despite the recognition for electronic trading, Ellis says that advisory relationships are still incredibly important.
He says: “Relationships… with existing counterparts must be worked on to understand their offering, how they approach and engage with the market, and to customise our approach to them.”
Ellis says that in this technological age, relationships with high touch traders, such as cash sales trading, ECM and syndicate block trading, can get somewhat overlooked.
“This part of the business still has a lot of value to add – even more so for us – an institution of our size,” says Ellis.
“We believe a cash sale trader is far more likely to be able to fulfil institutional size opportunities than elsewhere in the market.”
Ellis is keen to emphasise that the relationships are not all down to him, as he commands an exceptionally experienced team.
He says: “They’ve all got individual responsibilities, but they are absolutely empowered to make a difference and add value to our investment process.”
Like most buy-siders, Mifid II is never far from the front of Ellis’s mind, and he acknowledges that next year, things will get “very real”.
Working groups are keeping on top of how relationships will be managed and how their businesses will evolve – in step with T Rowe Price – within the new regulatory environment.
“We have quite an extensive list of brokers and place a high degree of importance on the expertise that specialists in the sector, country, region can offer us that generalists can’t always match,” says Ellis.
His team relies on this specialist knowledge, as it covers 45 individual countries and markets, including frontier markets and having gateways to the execution side is also useful.
“There may be changes to the way we interact with some of our brokers, such as the way that we reward their input. But I don’t think we’d be looking to cut down on the service they provide.”
The next year may be difficult for Ellis, but compared to the 2015/16 season for his beloved Chelsea, it should be a breeze. He claims to be old enough to remember when Chelsea was a yoyo club, but that knowledge of how bad things can seem to be getting brings him comfort in times of uncertainty. He views the markets in a similar way.
“I feel quite privileged to have worked through this period in our industry that has seen the greatest change in its hundreds of years of history,” says Ellis.
“Having started out in the old Stock Exchange, we have come on what seems like quite an incredible journey,” he adds.
“We have operations in dozens of countries and trading desks on four continents, technology platforms that are the same throughout the globe, which is evidence of what we have achieved for our clients.”