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Equity round up: Block Alert!

ITG and Merrill Lynch have joined forces in a joint venture called “Block Alert, powered by Posit” that will create a global block order crossing service.

The system falls into the hybrid category of continuously advertised and continuously negotiated crossing networks, similar to the model pioneered by Liquidnet. It reaches into the order management system of participants, querying the target positions and routing indications to traders on potential matches. Unlike on Liquidnet, however, traders do not negotiate prices directly but route to ITG’s Posit Now system, where matches are made in an automated environment at the median bid-offer spread.

“For Merrill, it gives them a strong partner and established platform with which to jump into the block trading game,” says Jeromee Johnson, a senior analyst at the Tabb Group. “For ITG, the number one complaint about crossing systems, the lack of liquidity, can be assuaged through a partner of such size and scope.”

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