Agency brokers were more favored than bulge bracket firms as the most widely used brokers for commission management services, according to a survey of 214 fund managers conducted by Integrity Research Associates

“Execution-only brokers gained market share during the financial crisis and commission management was no exception,” says Michael Mayhew, chairman of the New York-based research firm and co-author of the study released Wednesday. “The challenge will be to preserve their recently won market share as bulge bracket firms rebound.”

Agency brokerages nabbed nine of the 15 broker dealers while bulge-bracket brokerages won the remaining six spots.k

The survey, conducted in the first quarter 2010, polled users of commission management services from hedge funds, mutual fund groups and pension plans.

A key component of commission management services are commission sharing agreements which allow fund managers to consolidate their trading activities with the best counterparties while directing commission payments to other sources of investment research.

According to Integrity Research, such CSAs have gained in popularity over the past five years and accounted for about 30 percent of research commission payments among the respondents to the survey. On average, respondents used 5 providers of commission service agreements although some used 12 or more.

Among the broker-dealers cited by fund managers, Instinet won top ranking as a global, European and Asian provider of commission management services while Knight won in North America. ITG won the “overall top” pick, followed by Instinet and BNY Convergex.

UBS garnered second place in the global category followed by BofA Merrill. Among the criteria Integrity Research used for selecting the “overall top” pick were customer support, financial strength, ease of website interfaces; efficiency of back-office operations such as reconciliations; timeliness of payments and expertise in regulatory matters.

 Within each of those categories, BNY Convergex got top billing for customer support while Barclays did so for website interface, back-office operations, and compliance and regulatory expertise. ITG also did so for financial strength.