Banking trio 'form dark pool alliance'

12 May 2009

Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Switzerland's UBS have agreed to grant each other access to their dark pool trading facilities in Europe, according to reports.

The Financial Times states that the deal, which covers the Sigma, MS Pool and UBS Pin dark pools, is an attempt to prevent further fragmentation of share trading liquidity in Europe caused by the rise of new trading platforms.

The deal comes a year after the three banks agreed a similar arrangement with US dark pools and follows the launch of a new dark pool, Neuro Dark, by Nasdaq OMX Europe earlier this month.

Dark pools are attractive to institutional investors as they allow large block trades to be completed without public disclosure. The public order books used by exchanges - known as lit markets - can be unpopular with these market players as large orders are immediately visible to rivals, which can put the initiator of a trade at a possible price disadvantage, the FT noted.

The newspaper added that the London Stock Exchange plans to launch its own dark pool, known as Baikal, in the next few weeks.

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