What You Need to Know About the Best Execution Rule

What You Need to Know About the Best Execution Rule

3 Min.

Brokers must prioritize the best execution, which means they must strive to provide customers with the most favorable order execution. Best execution is a legal requirement that ensures clients' interests take precedence over broker incentives. When brokers assess a client's request, they consider factors such as the best price, execution speed, and the probability of trade execution.


Best execution is a significant legal mandate that requires brokers to seek the most favorable options to execute their clients' orders within the prevailing market environment. It serves as a crucial investor protection requirement, obligating brokers to exercise reasonable care when executing orders to obtain the most advantageous terms for the customer. To comply with the best execution, brokers must examine, track, and document the routing of equity investments, options, or bond orders for execution.

Diving Into Best Execution Principles

Best execution is a fundamental ethical principle and a legal requirement that prioritizes clients' interests when brokers execute trades. The focus is on fulfilling customer needs, with broker incentives taking a backseat.

The execution standards are overseen by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which mandates broker-dealers to provide quarterly reports on order routing to the SEC. Additionally, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) conducts regular examinations and audits to ensure brokerage firms adhere to best execution practices.

What Is the FINRA Rule 5310?

The Best Execution Rule, as established by FINRA, emphasizes the importance of member firms and their associated individuals diligently seeking the most advantageous market for securities transactions involving customers or customers of other broker-dealers. It requires them to make efforts to secure the most favorable price for customers within the prevailing market conditions. Firms are expected to regularly assess and ensure the quality of execution for customer orders, either through systematic evaluations or on an order-by-order basis.

Best Execution Requirements

When executing customer orders, brokers take into account several crucial factors, including the potential for a more favorable price than the quoted one, the speed at which the trade can be executed, and the likelihood of successful execution. Best execution considerations also encompass additional factors such as settlement time and trade size.

The Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) II, implemented in Europe in 2018, introduced best execution regulations. These regulations enhanced the earlier MiFID regulations that were established in 2007. These regulations aim to ensure that brokers undertake "sufficient steps" to achieve advantageous execution for their clients, surpassing the standard of "reasonable steps."

How to Be Sure That Your Broker Is Following the Best Execution Rule?

Investment companies, such as BlackRock, frequently offer comprehensive disclosure of their order execution policies. In BlackRock's case, they provide clients with detailed information about their best execution and order placement protocols through their Best Execution and Order Placement disclosure document.

What Is MiFID II?

MiFID II is a regulatory framework implemented by the European Union (EU) to standardize and improve investor protection in the financial markets across the EU. It shares similarities with the Best Execution Rule in the U.S. and aims to establish consistent practices and regulations throughout the EU.

Consequences of Violating the Best Execution Rule

In 2020, Robinhood Financial LLC faced charges from the SEC for making misleading statements. The charges were related to the firm's failure to disclose payments received for routing customer orders and not meeting its obligation to seek the best terms for executing customer orders. Specifically, Robinhood falsely claimed on its website FAQ that its execution quality surpassed or matched that of its competitors during a certain period.

Best Execution Rule
Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) II
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)
FINRA Rule 5310