The bosses of three major US exchanges met regulators yesterday to voice their concern about the amount of trading moving away from their public venues to private platforms such as dark pools.
According to Reuters, Nyse Euronext chief Duncan Niederauer, Nasdaq OMX's Robert Greifeld and Bats Global Markets' Joseph Ratterman made their way to Washington to make their case to Securities and Exchange Commission officials.
Exchanges have been steadily losing market share to private platforms such as dark pools and internalisers. According to Rosenblatt Securities data, trading away from exchanges has accounted for as much as 40% of all trading on on several recent days.
As well as costing them business, the exchanges argue that the trend also distorts prices and hurts transparency.
The SEC has been investigating ways to shed light on dark pools for some time, and incoming chairman Mary Jo White confirmed in her Senate confirmation hearing that the agency would continue to explore their effects.
According to the New York Times, the bosses want a "trade at" rule, which would mean using an alternative to an exchange only if the customer was getting a significantly better price on the trade. Since the introduction of a similar rule in Canada last October, the use of dark pools has fallen sharply.