Tag Archives: New York Stock Exchange

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NYSE Top DMMs Aim to Defect? MEMX To Be Sprecher’s Mutiny On The Bourse?

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NYSE DMM Citadel Securities started as a HFT prop trading firm

Something funny happened on the way to the floor of the New York Stock Exchange last week; Citadel Securities and Virtu Financial, two of the three biggest NYSE “Designated Market-Makers” aka “DMM”) –also domain experts in leveraging high-frequency trading technology—and now control trading in nearly 40% of NYSE listed stocks, announced they formed a consortium and raised $70 million to create an electronic stock exchange called Members Exchange, aka” MEMX” that aims to compete directly with NYSE as well as NASDAQ to list and trade shares of public companies. The news release likely didn’t sit well with NYSE Chairman Jeff Sprecher, as the announcement reads like a script that could be titled “Mutiny on the Bourse.”

 

 

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A familiar scene..but not from the NYSE..yet.

Citadel Securities and Virtu Financial are not merely NYSE designated market-makers, an exclusive role granted by the exchange where the quid pro includes the DMM’s commitment to put their capital at risk while they maintain fair and orderly markets in the stocks they are assigned. Not your father’s NYSE specialists, Citadel and Virtu are also financial industry behemoths. Citadel is a global ‘alternative investment firm’ with $25b AUM and a high-frequency trading (“HFT”) domain expert. One of the original flash boys, the firm’s proprietary trading arm mints money using HFT tactics and strategies and is overseen by hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin, whose net worth is estimated at $9.8bil.

Virtu Financial is also a $multi-billion platform. Firm co-founder Vinnie Viola is a former NYMEX Chairman, who became a high-frequency trading czar in the early 2000’s. Where Citadel’s Ken Griffith is a Harvard graduate, Virtu’s Viola hails from the US Military Academy at West Point. Now the owner of Florida’s professional ice hockey league franchise, Viola was on a Trump short-list to be nominated for US SecDef. Viola’s net worth of nearly $3bil might pale in comparison to Griffith’s pocketbook, but, what’s a billion here and billion there? Unlike Citadel, Virtu is a publicly-traded company ($5bil market cap), albeit the company’s shares are inauspiciously listed on NASDAQ (ticker: VIRT).  In addition to its ‘seats’ at the NYSE, Virtu has a membership presence on nearly 125 exchanges around the world.

So, both of those boys are billionaires, both of their firms are high-frequency trading Goliaths that have multi-asset, market-making presence across a spectrum of electronic trading centers, and both became NYSE top DMMs by gobbling up old-line specialist firms. Virtu secured its initial spot on the NYSE floor in 2011 and Citadel joined the party with its Pac-man strategy of NYSE specialist firm acquisitions shortly after Intercontinental Exchange “ICE” bought out the NYSE in 2014.

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Specialist traders work at a Virtu Financial booth on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange April 16, 2015. Shares of electronic trading firm Virtu Financial Inc rose as much as 24.6 percent during their IPO, valuing the company at about $3.23 billion. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid – RTR4XMJS

According to the launch announcement put out by MEMX, the $70 million in first round funding came from among others, Morgan Stanley, UBS, Charles Schwab, E*Trade Financial and TD Ameritrade. A total of nine firms are included in the initial business. There is only minor speculation as to why NYSE DMM GTS Securities is not currently involved in the new initiative-or at very least- they were not mentioned in the news release. Perhaps the simple reason is that GTS, which is also counted within the ranks of of multi-asset electronic market-makers, are NYSE loyalists and as relative newcomers to the NYSE, they are leery of aligning themselves with their sharp-elbowed tenants Virtu and Citadel in a yet-to-be-proven initiative and one that will certainly provoke the ire of Jeff Sprecher, the Chairman of the NYSE, and more importantly, the Chairman & CEO of NYSE owner Intercontinental Exchange (“ICE”) (NYSE:ICE). If you missed the memo, ICE is the global icon in the universe of financial exchanges; they own 12 other venues.

Why yet another stock exchange?! Does the equities market really need even more fragmentation?! Well, it’s all about the money. Duh.

According to insiders familiar with the MEMX initiative, the owners of Citadel and Virtu -as well as their sell-side partners, have long lamented the escalating cost of fees, both market data fees and the ‘extra fees’ imposed on “market on close” or “MOC” orders-the latter of which now represent the largest bulk of NYSE daily trading volume. Its no secret that those accessing the NYSE have increasingly pointed the egregious pricing to the point where those fees impede the ICE-owned venue’s ability to attract more order flow and better compete with other electronic exchanges that also trade in NYSE-listed companies.

One personal familiar with the MEMX’s pitch deck suggested, “These guys are tired of ICE taking in big market data fees and transaction fee revenue that they believe they are entitled to because they’re the ones making markets and providing liquidity. Their view is if were they to own their own exchange and offer lower fees, they could pocket it all themselves.” More telling as to the motivation is the narrative published on MEMX’s website: “As the only member-owned equities trading platform, MEMX will represent the interests of its founders….. and their collective client base..[comprised of retail and institutional brokerages] on U.S. market structure issues.”  Sounds like a line straight out of Gordon Gekko’s playbook.

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As cited in the WSJ coverage of the story, MEMX website suggests their model is to “be more simplistic.”  They state: “We will include a limited number of order types to promote simple and transparent interactions,” as well as “no speed bumps” to potentially hold up the trading process.” That ‘no speed bump” feature might sound like a slap at the upstart IEX exchange, owned by IEX Group and the ‘anti-flash boys’ equities exchange venue whose shareholders include major buy-side institutional investors. The IEX value proposition is to be ‘fairer to institutional investors’ and it limits access by “exploitative HFT trading firms” whose trade strategies include predatory, nano-second order entry and order cancellation.

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ICE Chairman Jeff Sprecher (r) Benedict Arnold(l)

Or, the MEMX marketing message could be “click bait” when considering that they have purportedly approached IEX with a proposal to ‘take-over’ the nascent-stage and still-struggling-for-market-share equities exchange venue. Even flash boy fintech billionaires know that when it comes to trading technology, it is often cheaper to buy than it is to build. And, despite MEMX claims they can “easily replicate the NYSE technology and infrastructure at a low price point”, they know the $70mil they’ve put together is merely a seed round when comparing to the 7 year old IEX. which has taken in nearly $200mil since its formation and has only achieved less than 3% market share and the only company listing it has secured is electronic brokerage Interactive Brokers (IEX:IBKR). If MEMX can do a ‘take-under; of IEX, they’d have a ready-made exchange that its founders could pitch to the biggest NYSE-listed corporations.

If you’ve got a hot insider tip, a bright idea, or if you’d like to get visibility for your brand through MarketsMuse via subliminal content marketing, advertorial, blatant shout-out, spotlight article, news release etc., please reach out to our Senior Editor via cmo@marketsmuse.com

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NYSE Floor Broker Lauren Simmons Breaking Records & Glass Ceilings

MarketsMuse Curators extend our thanks for the excerpt below, courtesy of Aug 1 feature story by Philly Inquirer Reporter, Erin Arvedlund. Follow Erin on Twitter via   @erinarvedlund  or email  EArvedlund@phillynews.com

NYSE Floor Broker Lauren Simmons is breaking records and glass ceilings. She’s the youngest female and only the second African American woman to ever work at the NYSE in its 226-year history. On December 5, 2017, she signed her name alongside that of John D. Rockefeller in the constitution of the NYSE.

She’s what most traders aren’t — a millennial, a woman, and a minority.

At 23, Lauren Simmons is the youngest and only current full-time female trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Simmons, a native of Marietta, Ga., graduated from Kennesaw State University with a degree in genetics and a minor in statistics, all of which helped her impress Gordon Charlop, partner at Rosenblatt Securities and a floor trader for twenty-five years. As a NYSE floor governor, he hired her to work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange as an equity trader last year.

“He liked my stats background, and as a trader, you have to make quick decisions,” Simmons told the crowd. Rosenblatt is a specialist boutique brokerage firm that trades mostly exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, she said

While much of Wall Street trading is now automated and computerized, the NYSE is one of the last remaining trading floors with humans, she added.

“My orders from clients might move prices, and I can go to one of the market-makers in a stock in-person and ask them what the market’s looking like. Technology can’t do that.”

To continue reading the full story by financial industry veteran journalist Erin Arvedlund, please click here. Follow Erin on Twitter via   @erinarvedlund |  EArvedlund@phillynews.com

If you’ve got a hot insider tip, a bright idea, or if you’d like to get visibility for your brand through MarketsMuse via subliminal content marketing, advertorial, blatant shout-out, spotlight article, news release etc., please reach out to our Senior Editor  or email: cmo@marketsmuse.com.

This 23-year-old is the only full-time female trader at the New York Stock Exchange from CNBC.

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Swimming With New Sharks: Kevin O’Leary Jumps into ETF Biz

How big are ETFs these days? Even Kevin O’Leary, aka “Mr. Wonderful” of ABC’s “Shark Tank” is getting into the game. On Tuesday, O’Leary was on the NYSE floor to launch the O’Shares FTSE US Quality Dividend ETF, (ARCA NYSE:OUSA): a basket of high-dividend stocks.

But he’s not doing this just to enter the crowded ETF space, which already has 1,700 ETFs and more than 50 ETF providers.

As noted by the coverage from CNBC, “Mr. Wonderful” is entering the exchange-traded fund world as an Issuer because he needed an investment vehicle for the equity portion of his family trust, which he started in 1997. O’Leary claims he wanted an investment vehicle that was rule-based, first and foremost, so no one would tinker with it.

And he wanted dividends. Why dividends? As O’Leary accurately opines, 70 percent of the returns in the stock market over the past decade or so have come from dividends.

But O’Leary did not just want to buy a basket of the highest-yielding ETFs. You can get that already with Vanguard High Dividend Yield, and you can get variations, like the iShares Select Dividend, that screen by dividend-per-share growth rate, or the Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF, which focuses on companies that have steadily increased dividends. O’Leary’s rule-based system is predicated on the following:

  1. A total yield close to 3 percent
  2. with 20 percent less volatility than the market
  3. with stocks that all had strong balance sheets

OUSA is therefore comprised of 140 stocks selected from the FTSE USA Index, comprised of 600 of the largest U.S. publicly-listed equities.

Given the high-profile presence and PR power of O’Leary, O’Shares made its debut on Tuesday in heavy volume. It’s the latest in a flurry of new ETF launches this month; now with 28 new funds, July is already tied for the most ETF launches of any month this year.

 

 

BATS is Best For ETFs..Thanks to BlackRock

BATS Global Markets now is the leading U.S. marketplace for exchange traded funds (ETFs), executing 26.1 percent of all ETF trading in May.

MarketsMuse ETF and Tech Talk depts merge to provide following update, courtesy of James Dornbrook Kansas City Business Journal

On Thursday, the Lenexa-based stock exchange welcomed the 22nd ETF to be listed on its trading platform, the iShares Convertible Bond ETF (BATS: ICVT), an indexed bond fund that operates as a subset of the Barclays U.S. Convertibles Cash Pay Bonds Index. The index measures the performance of the U.S. dollar-denominated convertible bond market, which consists of bonds that a holder can convert into a specified number of shares of common stock of the issuing company. The bonds typically are used by companies with low credit ratings but huge growth potential.

More than half of the ETFs listed on BATS are from BlackRock Inc.’s (NYSE: BLK) iShares Exchange Traded Funds business. So the relationship with iShares has been key to BATS growth in listings for ETFs.

BATS excels at listing ETFs because offering companies are more interested in getting access to the liquidity BATS excels at offering than they are in buying marketing services, where the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq have a commanding advantage.

In addition to being the No. 1 ETF trading platform in the United States, BATS is also the No. 2 trader in overall U.S. equities, with a 21.2 percent market share in May.