LeveL ATS dark pool and Luminex block venue complete merger

The sell-side dark pool and buy-side block trading venue will continue to operate as separate alternative trading systems under one broker-dealer.

Independently operated US equities sell-side dark pool, LeveL ATS, and buy-side block trading venue, Luminex Trading & Analytics, have completed their merger.

The pair confirmed their intentions to merge in September last year, shortly after Nasdaq acquired a minority stake in LeveL ATS in August, joining existing investors Bank of America, Citi and Fidelity.

The two venues will continue to operate as two separate alternative trading systems (ATS) under one broker dealer and LeveL ATS’ chief executive, Whit Conary, has been named chief executive officer of the combined entity.

“The completion of our merger is an important step in our growth trajectory and continued corporate development. I am excited about the new opportunities this strategic combination will allow us to bring to the trading process,” said Conary.  “We are determined to bring our buy- and sell-side clients an innovative platform with deep liquidity, unmatched market access, and quality service.”

Alongside Conary’s appointment the merged company has appointed LeveL ATS’ strategy chief, Stephen R Miele, to assume the same role in the new company, Luminex’s head of product, David Hagen, as its chief product officer and Michael Stupay as its chief financial officer, among others.

Several major institutions have invested in alternative trading systems in the last year as dark trading market share continues to rise, particularly in the UK in light of relaxed rules around non-disclosed trading post-Brexit. Most recent was London-based market maker, XTX Markets, which also launched a US equities dark pool last year, XTX Direct, with Barclays as one of the first confirmed broker partners.