Executing a trade isn’t easy. Broker-dealers have to figure out where to trade, when to trade and how much to trade in a way that will minimize their total costs.

Those costs are both explicit and implicit. Explicit are the fees charged by executing venues, alternative trading platforms and clearing and settlement providers. Implicit is impact the trade has on the overall price change of the target stock.

Reducing implicit costs is the most difficult because the impact is not easy to identify. Yet broker-dealers are spending the most time on it because they fear the high volume of orders and cancellations created by high-frequency trading is creating hidden trading costs.

In the meantime, brokers are failing to take basic steps that can reduce their explicit costs, says Justin Llewelyn-Jones, chief operating officer in the U.S. for Fidessa, a trading systems and connectivity software provider.

Here’s how to cut up to 20 percent of explicit costs in five easy steps, according to a Fidessa white paper released Monday.