(Bloomberg) -- Hedge funds’ No. 1 response to the pandemic? Pick up the phone.
Buy-side firms’ most-cited reaction to market uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic was to move toward more phone-based trading, with 31% listing it as their response during the early days of the outbreak, according to a study from Greenwich Associates released Tuesday.
Major banks and broker-dealers also relied more on telephones, with 19% saying they increased such trading and 17% saying they shut off auto-pricing technology as the pandemic roiled markets.
This “speaks to customers working directly with their dealers to both source liquidity and understand market dynamics, given the market uncertainty,” Greenwich Associates said in the report, noting that 42% of the trading volume in U.S. Treasuries in March was done over the phone, compared with just 29% in February.
Banks and hedge funds alike have been investing in their electronic trading capabilities as the industry comes to rely more on algorithms and other technologies. Still, some banks such as Morgan Stanley have said they’ve seen record volume through voice trading in recent months as clients sought more contact with desk traders.
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