This paper provides an empirical description of the relationship between the trading system operated by a stock exchange and the transaction costs faced by heterogeneous investors who use the exchange. The recent introduction of SETS in the London Stock Exchange provides an excellent opportunity to study the impact of an electronic trading system upon transaction costs and the time taken to carry out a trade. Using the cost-of-carry model of futures prices we estimate (non-linearly) the transaction costs and trade speeds faced by arbitragers who take advantage of mispricing of FTSE100 futures contracts relative to the spot prices of the stocks that make up the FTSE100 stock index. We divide the sample period into pre-SETS and post-SETS sample periods and conduct a comparative study of arbitrager behaviour under different trading systems. The results indicate that there has been a significant reduction in the level of transaction costs faced by arbitragers and in the degree of transaction cost heterogeneity since the introduction of SETS. Finally, generalised impulse response functions show that both spot and futures prices adjust more quickly in the post-SETS period.

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Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper Series
Tinbergen Institute

Taylor, N., van Dijk, D., Franses, P. H., & Lucas, A. (1999). SETS, Arbitrage Activity, and Stock Price Dynamics (No. TI 99-003/4). Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper Series. Retrieved from