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16 April 2012Joséphine de Chazournes
CA Cheuvreux, the agency broker owned by Crédit Agricole, will this week relaunch Blink, its broker-crossing network, as a multilateral trading facility (MTF) aimed at institutional investors and retail. The Blink-MTF will trade 1,700 stocks across 14 European markets, after receiving approval from UK authorities. However, it aims at differentiating itself from rivals Bats and Chi-x Europe by excluding the proprietary trading desks of big banks and high-frequency traders. The launch of yet another Equity trading venue in European's fragmented post MiFID market reflects the divided opinion of market participants towards High Frequency Trading. European regulators are concerned about potential market instability created by High Frequency Trading. The draft report of European Commission rapporteur Markus Ferber published on March 16th on MiFID2 goes in the same direction of Blink, restricting HFT in many ways, even trying to ban Direct Market Access functionalities offered by brokers to investors. HFT is basically trading with extremely complex automated algorithms that take advantage of market discrepancies in thousandths of seconds. It now accounts for 60% of daily trading volume on European markets, and is higher in the US.