UK block trading continues to rise after record trading week

Turquoise Plato and Liquidnet led major block trading venues in record week of activity in the UK.

The UK saw a record number of block trades and value traded last week with Turquoise Plato and Liquidnet leading the way, according to the latest statistics from Fidessa.

Data for the week ending 23 March showed 2,193 block trades were executed across the major European block trading venues in the UK, compared to 1,865 trades the week prior.

Of those, a majority of 631 were executed at Turquoise Plato, closely followed by Liquidnet and ITG’s block trading platforms with 548 and 416 trade counts respectively.

For total block value in the UK, more than €2,606 million was traded during the period, with Liquidnet holding the highest value traded of €1,103 million, followed by Turquoise Plato which stood at €540 million.

“What we saw following the Brexit vote and the Trump election continued last week with high volumes of block trading driven by institutional investors repositioning around major events,” said Duncan Higgins, head of electronic products at equities broker ITG.

“As asset managers look to reduce market impact and lower trading costs, expect the value and volume of block trades to continue to increase in the weeks and months ahead.”

The introduction of MiFID II’s double volume caps (DVCs) on 12 March saw market share of on-book trading in dark pools halved from 6.15% to 3.06%, according to data from Thomson Reuters last week.

The statistics suggest block trading and periodic auction venues have swept up activity following the caps on dark trading, despite MiFID II’s objective to migrate volumes towards lit order books and exchanges for greater market transparency.

Thomson Reuters’ data revealed periodic auctions had doubled market share of on-book trading from 0.64% to 1.23% during the week the DVCs were introduced.   

“If the result of the trading caps is to shift trading out of dark pools into periodic auctions, then the regulator has not really achieved what it was trying to,” John Mason, head of regulatory and market structure strategic response at Thomson Reuters, commented at the time.