Jonathan Clark, now CEO of Luminex Trading & Analytics and formerly Co-Head of Americas Equity Trading BlackRock, discusses block trading trends, his time on the buy-side and the decision to add conditional orders to Luminex’s platform.
Hayley McDowell: What is driving block trading in the US and how has it evolved in recent years?
Jonathan Clark: What’s interesting today about block volume is the level of transparency we are now getting through Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) data that we didn’t have before. The FINRA data tells us that block volumes as a percentage of alternative trading system (ATS) volume is actually increasing, but a closer look will show you that ATS volume has been in a pretty steady decline since the numbers were first published in 2016. However block volume, trades executed at 10,000 shares or more, has been reasonably constant. What we’re seeing on one hand is a flat line of the block volume, but the implication is that traders predominantly driving this block volume are saying they need this form of liquidity. So ATS volume may be falling off, but institutional investors are clearly committed to trading blocks and the data reflects that.
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