Archipelago: Best equities ECN
This year Archipelago is recognized as the best equities ECN because it has proven itself to be more flexible and responsive to the needs of its users than arch-rival Island.
The two ECNs handle a similar turnover but concentrate on different securities. Island is focused on Nasdaq securities and exchange-traded funds while Archipelago is concentrating its efforts on adding non-Nasdaq listed securities to the Nasdaq stocks it already handles.
Archipelago has had a very busy year, both buying REDIBook ECN and merging with the Pacific Stock Exchange. This has helped Archipelago to boost its volumes, which now outstrip Island's on a regular basis.
Archipelago is widely praised by traders for its market structure, which sends orders to whichever market centre offers the best price. If the price on a security offered by Archipelago is inferior to that of another market centre, the Archipelago system automatically re-routes the order to help users achieve the best price. Island, which is criticized by many traders for its policy of internalizing all order flow, is responding with a plan to offer cost-efficient outbound routing in the future.
The trading interfaces of both Archipelago and Island are easy to use and flexible.