GTS acquires Barclays' market making business

The deal marks the latest pull-back from investment banking operations by Barclays.

GTS Securities – a New York-based market maker – has acquired Barclays’ designated market maker (DMM) business.

Upon completion of the acquisition, GTS will become the DMM for over 1,200 securities on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), including many US and international blue chip corporations. The transaction is expected to complete in the second quarter.

“Becoming a DMM is a natural marriage of our floor trading expertise and cutting-edge technology,” said Ari Rubenstein, co-founder and chief executive officer at GTS.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Designated market making involves a firm continuously providing bid and ask prices on behalf of a trading venue to provide liquidity, and to act as a conduit between a listed company and traders.

Through a number of acquisitions, Barclays had become one of the largest market makers on the NYSE. In 2009 it bought the DMM rights of Bear Wagners from J.P. Morgan for $30 million. It then acquired the DMM assignments from LaBranche for $25 million in 2010. 

However, the decision from Barclays to dispose of the business marks the latest pull-back from investment banking operations as it looks to refocus its strategy and develop its core business lines.

Only last week, Barclays announced it is to close its Asia Pacific cash equities trading desks, and close offices in Australia, Russia, Brazil, Korea and Taiwan.

Joseph Mecane, global head of electronic equities products, Barclays, said: “With the evolving market structure, we also believe that a firm specialising in the technology of market making, such as GTS, is best suited to enhance the NYSE DMM business.”