‘Get-rich-quick agency trading desks are damaging client trust in automated trading’

L-r: McCabe, Deng, Smith, Liau

L-r: McCabe, Deng, Smith, Liau

Agency trading desks focused on short term gain to get rich quick are damaging the trust clients have in the programming trading space, according to Radium One’s APAC managing director Kerry McCabe.

Speaking on the issue of trust and transparency in media trading at Mumbrella360 yesterday McCabe said: “Some trading desks are pursuing short-term gain, which is degrading trust in the sector among clients.

“These players are not taking the longer term approach and saying, let’s do the right thing and trade in a transparent way.”

“Other agency trading desks are being more transparent. That might not make them super-rich right away, but it’s the best way forward for the market.”

To a question about arbitrage – the practice of media agencies not disclosing the margin they make on trades to their clients – Lee Smith, APAC president for Annalect, Omnicom Media Group’s data marketing division, said that the issue “is not as scandalous as people make out.”

“We’re held accountable for return on value to our clients. In no cases are clients unaware of how we go to market,” he said.

Smith referred to a panel yesterday at Mumbrella360 where he said it emerged that there is more that clients are not telling their agencies than the other way around.

On whether the arbitrage issue would persuade advertisers to take the programmatic function in-house, Grace Liau, APAC GM of Vivaki’s trading desk Audience on Demand, said that clients do not have “the appetite or know-how” – even in the US, the world’s most advanced market.

“Agencies are making the investment in these platforms, and a lot of it goes into keeping on top of how platforms are changing. We’re the ones going to the platforms to ask why the technology works this way.”

Liau added that clients need to shift the focus from cost to value in programmatic trading.

“If we keep having the conversation about cost and not value, we will all be out of jobs, because we need money to keep investing in the tech and the platforms,” she said.

Robin Hicks


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