Canadian dark trading reached US$11 billion in February, the highest total ever recorded and over double the amount recorded in the same period last year, according to figures provided by Thomson Reuters.
Dark pools accounted for just US$5 billion 12 months ago, compared with US$10.9 billion in January 2012 and US$8.13 billion in the last month of 2011. Total Canadian market activity in February was US$168.16 billion in February, down from US$189.25 billion a year earlier.
Alpha IntraSpread, the Canadian dark pool launched in June last year, was the most successful non-displayed venue, accounting for 47.6% of dark trading in the country in February.
Owned by alternative trading system provider Alpha Group, IntraSpread aims to attract market participants seeking refuge from the impact of high-frequency trading on Canada’s lit markets. IntraSpread has increased its share of dark trading rapidly, up from 43.1% in January, and 36.8% in December.
Only retail order flow may trade aggressively in the Alpha Group dark pool, while institutional orders must rest passively, waiting to interact with immediate or cancel orders from retail sources. These dark orders are fully hidden and pegged to the national best bid or national best offer with a price improvement of either 10% (capped to one price tick) or 50% (mid-point). No rebates of fees are paid on this liquidity. All Alpha IntraSpread trades are published in real time.
Intraspread traded US$5.3 billion in February, overtaking rival TriAct MATCH Now to claim a 3.1% share of total market activity for the month. TriAct MATCH Now, an independent dark pool, traded US$5.16 billion in February, representing 46.7% of Canadian dark trading and just under 3.1% overall market share.
Block trading network Liquidnet achieved 5.17% of Canadian dark market share with a turnover of US$570.39 million the same month, which equates to 0.3% total market share.