LSE dark pool plans rocked by Lehman default

LSE dark pool plans rocked by Lehman default

The London Stock Exchange maintains that its Baikal dark pool project remains "a sound business proposition" despite the bankruptcy protection filing by partner Lehman Brothers.

The multilateral trading facility (MTF) - called Baikal - was slated for launch in the first quarter of 2009 and was intended to combine dark pool liquidity and algorithmic trading functionality.

An LSE spokeswoman says the Exchange has held about 80 meetings with potential users of the platform since it announced its plans in June. Some of these meetings have been with investment banks and brokers that have expressed an interest in investing in the project.

The LSE and Lehman had not released any details about the technology build involved in the project, prompting speculation that Baikal would lean heavily on Lehman's proprietary crossing network.

The US investment bank was a big spender on technology. In the last quarter, ending 31 August 2008, it spent $309 million (£173 million) on technology and communications, up from $282m in the same period last year.

Lehman's technology assets - including its Liquidity Cross platform - will likely be auctioned off to the highest bidder by its administrators, PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The London Stock Exchange is exhibiting at the Sibos international banking meeting in Vienna, but declined to make an official comment on the developing situation.

Elsewhere at Sibos, Bank of America arranged for a live big screen relay to its stand of its press conference in New York, outlining its take-over proposals for Merrill Lynch. Unfortunately for the assembled crowd the last-minute technology hook up succeeded only in broadcasting words, but no pictures.

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