CA Cheuvreux, the European agency broker owned by French banking group Credit Agricole, has filed with UK regulator the Financial Services Authority (FSA) to convert its BLINK crossing network into a multilateral trading facility (MTF).
The broker expects to receive a final decision from the FSA on 15 August, according to sources.
BLINK currently incorporates flow from retail and institutional clients as well as CA Cheuvreux's algorithmic, program trading and direct market access desks.
BLINK MTF will include all eligible CA Cheuvreux internal flow and orders will be executed at the European best bid and offer. The technology platform underpinning BLINK is supplied by trading software vendor Smart Trade's LiquidityCrosser.
If approved, CA Cheuvreux would become the fourth European sell-side firm to launch a dedicated MTF, just months before final proposals for new rules governing broker crossing networks (BCNs) are due to be presented by the European Commission as part of its review of MiFID.
Final EC proposals, which are expected in October having been delayed from Q1 this year, could include an official category for BCNs as a subset of a new organised trading facility regime, an obligation for BCNs to convert into an MTF if they allow third-access or a systematic internaliser if client orders are executed against proprietary flow and a requirement for BCNs to be identified in real time in post-trade data, with aggregate data
At the start of 2010, Japan-based investment bank Nomura converted its NX BCN into an MTF, citing commercial motivations. UBS followed suit with UBS MTF in November, while Goldman Sachs went live with Sigma X MTF in April.
According to Thomson Reuters, the dark pools operated by Nomura and UBS garnered a combined 7.58% share of total European dark trading turnover in June. Sigma X MTF, which only started reporting its figures to Thomson Reuters this month, had a 4.7% share of dark trading up until 18 July this month.