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2016 News Coverage Archive

PRESS RELEASE: BATS LIS, POWERED BY BIDS

August 9, 2016

BIDS ATS TO EXPAND GLOBALLY, OFFERING EUROPEAN EQUITIES TRADING THROUGH A LARGE IN SCALE NEGOTIATION FACILITY CALLED BATS LIS.

New York, NY – August 9, 2016 – BIDS Trading L.P. (BIDS), the largest block trading ATS by volume in the U.S., and Bats Europe, Europe’s largest stock exchange operator, announced today that Bats Europe has agreed to license BIDS technology to launch Bats LIS, a new block trading service for the European equity market.

Bats LIS (Large in Scale), which is subject to regulatory approval, is a large in scale indication of interest (IOI) negotiation and execution platform that will allow market participants to negotiate large blocks in European equities without revealing their intentions to the wider market. Bats LIS will leverage BIDS’ highly-regarded software, BIDS Trader, and buy-side channel distribution, combined with Bats’ infrastructure required for trade execution, clearing and settlement.

BIDS Trader seamlessly integrates with a buy-side trader’s Order Management System (OMS) and Execution Management System (EMS), so buy-side traders can access Bats LIS through their existing BIDS Trader GUI. Direct participants of the Bats Europe Exchange can also connect to Bats LIS via their existing Bats physical connections.

Bats LIS is designed to provide buy-side traders with protection against information leakage surrounding their IOIs through several unique features. First, Bats LIS provides a designated broker model which allows buy-side traders to maintain their important relationships with their brokers. It also brings together the block flow of both the buy and the sell-side, allowing for greater crossing opportunities. Additionally, IOI information disclosure and interaction is controlled by the trader via customizable trading tools, including minimum block size and counterparty score-carding and filtering based on past trading behavior.

Tim Mahoney, CEO of BIDS Trading, commented, “Global clients want global solutions. Partnering with Bats Europe allows each of us to bring our core strengths together to provide another piece of the global block trading market to our mutual clients in an efficient manner. Maintaining the important relationships between the buy-side and their brokers and successfully integrating the flows of each on one platform have been the keys to BIDS’ success in the U.S. Partnering with Bats Europe allows us to extend those benefits under the umbrella of the largest stock exchange in Europe.”

Mark Hemsley, CEO of Bats Europe, said, “We’ve listened to the buy-side community in Europe and understand their unique challenges in trading large blocks of stock and we believe that our new LIS service will help them better execute their large in scale trading activity. A complement to our existing order book offerings, Bats LIS provides the buy-side with a MiFID II compliant platform that offers IOI protection tools and full control over their IOI until execution to protect against information leakage.”

Under MiFID II, which is scheduled to come into effect on January 3, 2018, large in scale trading will benefit from one of the waivers enabling market participants to negotiate trades without the need for pre-trade transparency, thus protecting firms wishing to conduct business in large blocks from unfavorable market movements based on information made available in the market.

Subject to regulatory approval, Bats Europe will commence a phased go-live for Bats LIS by the end of the year. Bats LIS will have a competitive pricing model, which will be transparent and publicly available. Pricing details will be shared closer to launch date.

All securities admitted to trading on Bats Europe will be available for trading on Bats LIS, representing 5,500 securities across 15 major European markets.
Additional information is available on the Bats LIS section of the Bats website.

About BIDS TRADING L.P.

BIDS Trading L.P., is a registered broker-dealer and the operator of the BIDS Alternative Trading System (ATS), which was designed to bring counterparties together to anonymously trade large blocks of shares. Developed by a consortium of leading financial services firms, BIDS Trading resolves the classic paradox of the block trader – the need to find legitimate trading counterparties without prematurely revealing trading intentions. For more information, visit www.bidstrading.com.

About BATS GLOBAL MARKETS, INC.

Bats Global Markets, Inc., is a leading global operator of exchanges and services for financial markets, dedicated to Making Markets Better. We are the second-largest stock exchange operator in the U.S., operate the largest stock exchange and trade reporting facility in Europe, and are the #1 market globally for ETF trading. We also operate two fast-growing U.S. options exchanges. In the global foreign exchange market, we operate Hotspot. ETF.com, a leading provider of ETF news, data and analysis, is a wholly-owned subsidiary. The company is headquartered in Kansas City with offices in New York, London, Chicago, San Francisco, Singapore and Quito, Ecuador. For more information, visit www.bats.com.

Media Contacts

BIDS Trading L.P.
Zoë Norinsky, +1.212.618.2600
Email: zoe.norinsky@bidstrading.com

Bats Global Markets Inc.
Stacie Fleming, London, +44.20.7012.8950
Hannah Randall, New York, +1.646.856.8809
Email: comms@bats.com

©2016 BIDS Trading® is a FINRA Member Firm. BIDS Trading and the BIDS Trading mark are protected in the United States and countries throughout the world.

SEARCH GOES ON FOR MISSING PIECES OF THE PLATO PUZZLE

July 16, 2015

By Tim Cave, Financial News
July 16, 2015

Mention the Plato Partnership to any senior European equities trader and you’ll likely get one of three responses: a dismissive laugh; a “you know as much as me” shrug of the shoulders; or a contractually-bound “no comment”.

Just over six months after the Plato Partnership first came to light in a Financial Times article, firm details about Europe’s newest equity trading venue have largely been restricted to what was in that original piece: that it will target large-sized stock orders, will be not-for-profit, and any revenues it does generate will fund academic research.

But with many of the project’s key strategic decisions yet to be taken, including who will lead it, who will supply its technology and what its market model will look like, Plato’s early 2016 start date already looks ambitious. What’s more, rival block trading initiatives are beginning to emerge — including some from those trying to bring Plato to life in the first place.

In other words: the project needs to get a move on.

Plato’s apparent lack of progress may be because its shareholder group is particularly unwieldy. It is backed by Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, UBS, Citigroup, Barclays and Deutsche Bank. From the buyside, Deutsche Asset and Wealth Management, Norges Bank Investment Management, Axa Investment Managers, Union Investment, JP Morgan Asset Management and Fidelity Worldwide Investment are all on board.

In the absence of a full-time CEO, the project is being led by a three-strong executive team headed by Deutsche Bank director Stephen McGoldrick, with a wider steering committee meeting twice every month.

The much speedier progress made by Luminex Analytics and Trading, a US block trading venue backed only by asset managers with a long-term investment horizon including Fidelity and JP Morgan Asset Management, serves as a neat example of the benefits of a shareholder group with a common goal. Luminex appointed a CEO last month and is set to launch a platform for US equities in September.

Even so, the scant details on Plato that have emerged have a slightly clumsy feel, particularly those of the oddly public beauty parade it is undertaking via its website to decide its technology provider. It was a nod to the initiative’s open and transparent ethos, but it is starting to look a little ill-conceived.

The process was announced in March with five potential bidders, and a further two added within a month.

This week, Bats Chi-X Europe, the region’s largest equity trading venue, said it had withdrawn from the selection process. Euronext withdrew in May, the same month Swedish technology provider Cinnober was told it was no longer in consideration. However, all seven firms are still named on Plato’s website. Those still seriously being considered include Aquis Exchange, Nasdaq and the US block trading provider BIDS Trading, people familiar with the situation said. A Plato spokeswoman said the selection process was ongoing, adding it was “making good progress narrowing the field”.

According to people at some of the firms involved in the selection process, Plato’s requirements at times changed from one week to the next, reflecting, they say, an apparent lack of consensus among its backers. Those close to the project strongly refute any major disagreements.

A cynic could argue much of this is sour grapes from firms that had become aware they were being frozen out of the selection process. Or that these firms never had any intention of working with Plato from the outset, but just wanted some intel on the initiative.

What is certain is that the environment into which Plato is launching is becoming more and more competitive. When announcing its withdrawal on Monday, Bats Chi-X Europe made clear its intention to launch a block trading service of its own, and said it would be “unveiling highly competitive initiatives in the coming months”.

It is not alone. BIDS Trading, owned by a consortium of banks and trading firms including some of Plato’s backers, told Financial News last week it had set its sights set on finding a route into Europe, regardless of its ultimate fate in Plato’s beauty parade.

Putting Plato aside for a minute, BIDS and Bats Chi-X Europe are actually the more obvious partners — BIDS has a strong reputation in the US and wants to expand into Europe, while Bats is in need of a block trading solution. There is also an ownership overlap between the firms and conversations on a potential partnership have taken place in recent weeks, though they are in their early stages, people familiar with the situation said.

Turquoise and the buyside-only Liquidnet have also spoken of improving their block offerings in recent months. Even Luminex is open to geographic expansion should it gain traction in the US, people familiar with the situation said.

If anything, this all proves that Plato has a strong business model for the moment. All the more so because it has the backing of some of the world’s biggest fund managers. Institutional investors have long-struggled to buy and sell large blocks of shares amid market fragmentation and the subsequent rise of algorithmic trading, which has decimated order sizes in Europe.

Regulation is also promoting block trading: a revised version of the EU’s Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, coming into effect at the start of 2017, includes limits for the amount of trading that takes place away from exchanges and on dark pools, unless they are deemed “large-in-scale”. The rules will also force bank-owned dark pools to be restructured. Rather than do that, many banks see Plato as a neater alternative, which could also help them meet new best execution requirements under Mifid II.

But the initiative, and others for that matter, are being stymied by regulatory uncertainty; Mifid II’s final text has not been agreed and the devil is always in the detail. Moreover, it is targeting a small piece of the pie: electronic block trading, though highly valued by investors, probably accounts for no more than 3% of total equity trading in Europe, based on the market share of the large-in-scale business facilitated by Liquidnet and ITG Posit.

That pie is likely to grow when Mifid II comes into force, but Plato needs to stop cooling its jets, and fire them up if it plans to take advantage of that. While its aim is to be a trading utility and a contributor to research as well as a trading venue, it needs make sure its core product works first and foremost.

It will be interesting to hear the response you get when you ask about Plato in six months’ time.

BIDS TRADING BROADENS EUROPEAN SIGHTS

By Tim Cave, Financial News
July 9, 2015

BIDS Trading, the US equities block trading venue vying to provide technology to a new European platform called the Plato Partnership, has its sights set on finding a route into Europe irrespective of the outcome of Plato’s tender process, according to its chief executive.

Tim Mahoney told Financial News the US equities operator was “carefully evaluating the best way to take our model and expand it into Europe”.

BIDS is one of five firms still in contention, along with Bats Chi-X Europe, Aquis Exchange, Turquoise and Nasdaq, to become technology provider to the Plato Partnership, a joint venture between banks and buyside firms that plans to launch a not-for-profit European block trading platform this year and is undertaking a beauty parade for the tech role.

Many of BIDS’ backers, including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and UBS, are also involved in Plato, but underlining his own firm’s intent to break into Europe, Mahoney said BIDS is “not just limited to [Plato]” and had spent the past few months exploring a number of opportunities and potential partners.

“Our goal is to find a path to Europe, and that’s what our customers have asked us to do,” he said.

The US company, which established a UK unit in May, was founded in 1994 and is owned by a consortium of 12 banks, brokers and trading firms. Registered as an alternative trading system, or ATS, it is one of the largest block-focused venues in the US, according to analysts.

BIDS’ potential move into Europe signals a renewed appetite among institutional investors to find new ways of trading large stock orders. The ability of institutions to buy and sell big blocks of shares without revealing their intentions to the wider market has become difficult as venues have geared themselves towards smaller orders. The rise of algorithmic trading has also resulted in orders being broken down into smaller pieces.

While there are several well-established platforms designed for block trading, including buyside-focused platform Liquidnet and Posit, which is run by agency broker ITG, several new initiatives have emerged in recent years.

They include Luminex, which is backed by nine money managers and is set to launch in September this year. Luminex will restrict access to buyside firms with a long-term investment horizon and will require users to execute a minimum portion of each order they send to the system if a match is found – an additional order type will allow matched orders to be increased via an anonymous process that lasts for 20 seconds.

Details are more sparse on Plato, partly due to uncertainty around the revision of Europe’s trading rulebook, the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, that will come into force in 2017. Mifid II will impose caps on the amount of trading that can take place on off-exchange venues, but trades that are deemed large in size will be exempt.

Mahoney said BIDS is planning its European advance “cautiously”, but added it hopes to have a European solution in place by the time Mifid II comes in. He said his firm was open to partnerships: “There are a whole bunch of things we don’t know, and if we can find a partner to help us navigate through the complexities of the European market we will do that.”

Unlike some venues such as Liquidnet, BIDS uses a sponsored access model, whereby broker-dealers connect their customers to the platform. It also allows conditional orders, whereby brokers can rest large orders in BIDS, should a match be found, while simultaneously attempting to execute the order through smaller orders across multiple venues.

Conditional orders also form part of Turquoise’s Block Discovery Service, which the London Stock Exchange-owned venue launched in conjunction with several brokers last October, and is geared towards institutional investors.

However, Mahoney said he believes “there is room for competition in Europe”.

Traders Magazine: BIDS Hits New Highs

August 15, 2011

BIDS Trading, the alternative trading system operator launched by a collection of sellside firms, has continued its dramatic growth, announcing another new trading record for Thursday.

On Aug. 4, BIDS saw volume hit 136 million shares, its fifth day with more than 100 million shares traded since the dark pool first passed that milestone on July 21. BIDS’ average daily volume in July was 72 million shares, up from about 65 million shares in June. (BIDS double counts its volume, a standard practice for dark pools.)

“We’re still early on in the development phase,” said Tim Mahoney, chief executive officer of BIDS. “Our successful competitors might have 500 plus buyside clients connected. We built our network slightly differently.”

BIDS, which launched in 2007, began providing block liquidity only for the sellside, starting with the firms that invested in it: Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays Capital, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Knight Capital, Lehman Bros., Morgan Stanley and UBS. (NYSE Euronext is also a partner in the joint venture.)

The ATS later added buyside liquidity, and BIDS now boasts more than 120 buyside clients. Mahoney said he wants to triple that number, and the firm is now focused on adding new clients.

“We need to go out and sign up new buyside users,” Mahoney said. “The more diversified the base of users is, the more likely you are to get matches.”

Though BIDS is dedicated to block trading, it does not put limits on how large or small a block can be. Mahoney said customers can choose to trade in whatever increments they like, whether 100 shares or 50,000 shares.

“Our underlying assumption is the buyside trader should have tools that are flexible enough to let them trade however they need to under the specific circumstances,” Mahoney said. “By giving them flexibility, we’ve created a very buyside-friendly venue.”

According to numbers from Rosenblatt Securities, BIDS ranks in the middle of major dark pools in terms of volume, still smaller than Credit Suisse Crossfinder and Goldman Sachs Sigma X, but larger than UBS ATS and ConvergEx Millennium.

The average trade size on BIDS was 284 shares in June, according to Rosenblatt. That might not seem like much of a block when compared with trades on Liquidnet Negotiated, a block crossing system whose average trade size was more than 48,000 shares in June. (Liquidnet H2O, the firm’s streaming liquidity network, had an average trade size of 1,071 shares in June.)

Still, trade sizes on BIDS are close to what they are on many of its competitors. Credit Suisse Crossfinder had an average trade size of 188 shares in June, and trades on GS Sigma X had average size of 318 shares.

While order sizes on BIDS might not be especially large, the dark pool offers a different advantage to users by providing for conditional orders, according to Justin Schack, managing director for market structure at Rosenblatt.

“That’s something that’s relatively unique, in that you can have your interest in BIDS and then also have that same interest represented in other venues,” Schack said.

Conditional orders are particularly attractive to institutional investors, but Schack said some of BIDS’ growth is probably attributable just to the fact that it is now able to offer more liquidity.

“They’ve gotten more people to connect, and that tends to have a compounding effect, once you get to that certain critical mass,” Schack said.

Over the past year, BIDS has seen its volume increase more than 55 percent, according to Rosenblatt’s numbers, more than any other dark pool the firm tracks.

Launching BIDS the year before the financial crisis of 2008 probably wasn’t the most fortuitous timing, but Mahoney said the firm was able to work on building its systems while most investors were fleeing the market. Once things returned to something resembling normalcy, BIDS was ready to offer its services to buysiders.

Many observers have expressed concern over the increasing fragmentation of the market as more new dark pools come on line, but Mahoney said there is always space for players who help clients achieve their goals.

For BIDS, that means bringing the buyside and sellside together and allowing buyside participants to use their commission dollars in a more effective way, Mahoney added.

New BIDS On the Block

November 10, 2009

By Steve Forbes (Intelligent Investing at Forbes, November 9, 2009)

Dark Pools Made Simple: BIDS Trading CEO Tim Mahoney argues the merits of dark pools.

Interview with Steve Forbes

NYBX Success Supports Hybrid Model

September 21, 2009

By Anish Puuar (The Trade, August 14, 2009)

Encouraging growth rates across the first two quarters of live trading…

Welcome to the New York Block Exchange

July 22, 2009

by John Hintze (MarketsMedia Magazine July/August 2008)

NYSE brings dark book and other upstairs tools to floor.

My, How BIDS Has Changed!

July 1, 2009

by Karla L. Yeh (MarketsMedia Magazine July/August 2008)

The unforgiving market forced BIDS Trading LP to grow up fast, but Chief Executive Officer Tim Mahoney has learned to rise to the challenge.

A Computer-Driven Stock Market

April 1, 2009

by Michael Maiello (Forbes.com April 2009)

Full Story

NYSE Readies its Block Initiative

January 1, 2009

by Nina Mehta (Traders Magazine January 2009)

Key Players Weigh in on the Change and Challenges of 2009

by Riley McDermid (Markets Media Magazine January 2009)

Welcome to the New York Block Exchange

July 21, 2008

by John Hintze (MarketsMedia Magazine July/August 2008)

NYSE brings dark book and other upstairs tools to floor.

My, How BIDS Has Changed!

July 20, 2008
by Karla L. Yeh (MarketsMedia Magazine July/August 2008)

The unforgiving market forced BIDS Trading LP to grow up fast, but Chief Executive Officer Tim Mahoney has learned to rise to the challenge.

BIDS Trading Commemorates its First Year of Trading

April 1, 2008

Markets Media Online April 2008

BIDS Executes More Than 4 Billion Shares!

Full Story

Charge of the Light Brigade

February 12, 2008

BIDS CEO Tim Mahoney is determined to illuminate dark-pool trading and reshape the equity business, one otherwise-obscured block at a time.

Block Trading Platforms: BIDS Trading Ups the Ante

September 1, 2007

In recent years, block trading has enjoyed continued growth, due in part to new platforms in the market that are challenging the status quo. While electronic block trading platforms made up just over 1% of the trading volume in the U.S. equities markets in 2003, it represented 4.5% in Q2 2007.

Block Trading Platforms: BIDS Trading Ups the Ante

Aite Report, September 2007

In recent years, block trading has enjoyed continued growth, due in part to new platforms in the market that are challenging the status quo. While electronic block trading platforms made up just over 1% of the trading volume in the U.S. equities markets in 2003, it represented 4.5% in Q2 2007.

Betting on BIDS Trading

July 7, 2007

Twelve of the largest trading houses have banded together to launch an electronic crossing venture. Will their clout make it the dominant system on the Street? That’s the open question now that BIDS Trading has started operating. BIDS Trading, which stands for Block Interest Discovery Service, was formed by the eleven largest investment banks and Knight Trading Group. It joins many so-called “dark pools” strewn across the trading landscape, but has the potential to become a blockbuster hit. BIDS Trading’ backers collectively control nearly three-fourths of the industry’s share volume.

Betting on BIDS Trading

July 1, 2007

Traders Magazine, July 2007

Twelve of the largest trading houses have banded together to launch an electronic crossing venture. Will their clout make it the dominant system on the Street?