Principal and agency trades by stockbrokers are complementary

the welfare effects of deregulating agency trading and banning principal trades

Michael J. Aitken*, Peter L. Swan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper models the demand for stockbrokers' services in Australia, consisting of two related services, agency trades and principal trades. The relationship between agency and principal trades is estimated. The results indicate that the two services are complements rather than substitutes. Using unique accounting information, a model of agency and principal trading activities is estimated to determine the welfare effects of (i) deregulating brokerage commissions and (ii) a ban on principal trading by brokers. The results show a sizeable welfare gain to investors (amounting to about 60% of the gross revenue of brokers) stemming from deregulation of the minimum charge for agency trades. The loss in profitability by brokers due to deregulation is also computed and shown to be negligible. The results also show that due to complementarity, a ban on principal trading, even with deregulation of agency trading, can impose an arbitrarily high cost on investors which could, in principle, offset the gains from agency deregulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-42
Number of pages24
JournalAccounting & Finance
Volume33
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes

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