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PDQ Launches Institutional Equities Division; Hires Two Industry Veterans

The developer of PDQ ATS has hired longtime industry experts Peter Jenkins and James Ross to head up PDQ's institutional equities buy-side solutions.

PDQ Enterprises, developer of the PDQ ATS, has hired Peter Jenkins and James Ross to head up the firm’s institutional equities division and serve as the alternative trading system’s institutional sales force to the buy side.

“We think they have excellent knowledge of the buy side where we want to expand to. We’re thrilled that they are going to be part of our team and educate the buy side about our solution,” said Keith Ross, CEO of PDQ Enterprises.

Both Jenkins and Ross worked at AX Trading Group, of Stamford, Conn., which operated an ATS that catered to institutions trading small and medium-sized companies. Jenkins served as president, oversaw business development and institutional sales, and served on the board of directors. AX Trading closed its dark pool in April of 2013 and was speaking with potential acquirers and considering technology licensing deals at the time, according to Dow Jones News. Prior to AX Trading, Jenkins ran NYSE’s institutional relationship management effort and served on the management committee. Jenkins was a head trader at Scudder and Deutsche Asset Management over an 18-year period, where he managed global trading, operations, technology and execution strategies.

Ross served at AX ATS as COO. Previously, Ross was CEO of an enterprise equity crossing business, MatchPoint Trading, which was acquired by NYSE Euronext to replace its legacy equity crossing facilities. At the time, Ross came to oversee the exchange’s electronic non-displayed crossing business. Previously, Ross ran Instinet’s global electronic crossing businesses and then spearheaded Instinet’s global institutional and relationship management division.

“Our hope is that they will be able to use their contacts so that they can sell both directly and indirectly to the buy side,” said Ross. Currently, PDQ’s clients include sell side, day trading and retail firms. “We have some agency brokers but the section of the market we’re missing would be the buy side.

PDQ runs electronic auctions with an algorithmic trading crowd and then pauses the order for 20 milliseconds to aggregate the market for someone seeking liquidity. “We believe it’s a way to take the toxicity out of the HFT guys because they have to actually respond first,” said Ross. For example, “ if someone wanted to buy I0,000 -shares of IBM, we would ping our liquidity providers in IBM, and if there was enough aggregated liquidity we would do a trade and if there’s not, say nothing done.” But the liquidity provider would not know anything about which side the trade was on, he said. “The original customer allows us to pause – he’s allowing us to ask what is the market, even though it’s all done a high speed,” explained Ross.

Ross said the 20-millisecond time frame could be changed. “We’re still in development for our buy side product and we may make that one or two seconds if we think we can aggregate liquidity in that time frame. That will be customer driven,” he said.

2013 was a very good year for PDQ ATS whose volume was up over 80 percent, says the CEO.

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Ivy is Editor-at-Large for Advanced Trading and Wall Street & Technology. Ivy is responsible for writing in-depth feature articles, daily blogs and news articles with a focus on automated trading in the capital markets. As an industry expert, Ivy has reported on a myriad ... View Full Bio

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