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Presented are an overview of the findings from the recent literature on the cost of U.S. equity trades for institutional investors and new evidence on trading costs from a large sample of institutional trades. The findings discussed have important implications for policymakers and investors: Implicit trading costs are economically significant; equity trading costs vary considerably and vary systematically with trade difficulty and order-placement strategy; and whether a trade price represents “best execution” depends on detailed data for the trade's entire order-submission process, especially information on pretrade decision variables, such as the trading horizon.

About the Author(s)

Donald B. Keim
Ananth Madhavan PhD

Ananth Madhavan is managing director at BlackRock, Inc., San Francisco.