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Large Firms Form New Exchange to Compete with Big Three

A group of nine leading banks and financial services firms, including Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Charles Schwab, Fidelity Investments, Morgan Stanley, UBS, and Virtu Financial, announcedplans to launch an equities exchange, MEMX, or Members Exchange. The exchange will seek to offer a simple trading model with basic order types, the latest technology, and a simple, low-cost fee structure, according to a release. MEMX said it will file an application with the SEC in early 2019 for approval to operate as a national securities exchange. The announcement comes amid regulators’ attention to a lack of competition among exchanges and the power and influence of the NYSE, Nasdaq and Intercontinental Exchange. MEMX said it will be owned entirely by its founding members and will seek to deliver benefits to retail and institutional investors by introducing greater competition, improve transparency, further reduce fixed costs, and simplify the execution of equity trading in the U.S. Media reportssay MEMX raised $70 million in its initial funding round and expects to bring other investors on board later.