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NYSE Seeks “Grand Bargain” to Undercut Dark Pools

Intercontinental Exchange Inc. (ICE), owner of the New York Stock Exchange, is circulating a plan that, if enacted, would overhaul market structure, according to the Wall Street Journal. The proposal suggests that NYSE would cut fees from 30 cents to 5cents per 100 shares in return for brokers accepting a “trade at” rule similar to the concept being tested in the tick size pilot. Trade-at would require that trades occur on lit venues unless a transaction on a dark pool would offer a price improvement, though large blocks and retail orders would be excepted. Further, the proposal would the eliminate maker-taker. The article notes that Credit Suisse AG, operator of the largest dark pool, and Virtu Financial LLC, a high-frequency trading firm, have endorsed the plan, but that the proposal has critics, such as KCG Holdings, Inc., the firm formed by Getco LLC’s acquisition of Knight Capital Group. According to the article, KCG released a statement arguing that “[m]andating trading on exchanges is an elephant-gun approach motivated by commercial interests of a handful of market participants.”