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Brokerage Commissions and Institutional Trading Patterns

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Listed:
  • Michael Goldstein
  • Paul Irvine

    ()

  • Eugene Kandel

    ()

  • Zvi Wiener

Abstract

Why do brokers charge per-share commissions to institutional traders? What determines the commission charge? We examine commissions and order flow for a sample of institutional orders and find that most per-share commissions are concentrated at only a few price points, primarily 5 and 6 cents per share. Further, we find that the prior-period commission, rather than execution costs, is the strongest determinant of next period's commission. These results are inconsistent with negotiation of commissions on an order-by-order basis or with the impression of a continuous transaction cost that is deduced from the distribution of percentage commissions, suggesting that commissions are not a marginal cost of execution. We also find that institutional clients concentrate their order flow with a small set of brokers, and that small institutions concentrate more than large institutions. Collectively, our results suggest that brokers and their institutional clients enter into long-term agreements where the per-share commission is constant, and the order flow routed to a particular broker is used to maintain the required payment for an institution's desired level of service. Commissions, therefore, constitute a convenient way of charging a predetermined fixed fee for broker services.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Goldstein & Paul Irvine & Eugene Kandel & Zvi Wiener, 2004. "Brokerage Commissions and Institutional Trading Patterns," Discussion Paper Series dp356, The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
  • Handle: RePEc:huj:dispap:dp356
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    JEL classification:

    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors
    • G24 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Investment Banking; Venture Capital; Brokerage

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