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Multilateral trading facilities: Turquoise dives in at dark end

New entrant aims for a big splash in dark pools but Nasdaq OMX and Bats are close behind, and Baikal promises intelligent order matching.

Turquoise, a new multilateral trading facility rival to European exchanges, is set to launch limited live trading on August 15.

Backed by some of the most powerful investment banks, the MTF plans to hit the ground running, with 60 to 80 clients at launch and liquidity commitments from its nine shareholders.

It also plans a rapid roll-out of the full 1,500 securities across 14 markets that it plans to trade over just three weeks, compared with the more gradual approach of rival MTF Chi-X, which has been adding markets gradually since launching 15 months ago.

Turquoise will offer trading in all 1,500 stocks on its dark pool – its non-displayed matching engine for large orders – and also open order book trading for the 300 most liquid stocks.

The key difference between Turquoise and both rival MTFs and incumbent exchanges will be the interaction of orders between its dark pool and order book that it hopes will increase matching rates and offer better execution. Orders entered into the dark pool will have access to the order book’s trading volume, improving match rates and at the same time enabling smaller orders to trade at improved prices when hitting a dark order inside the spread.

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