Montvale, N.J.-based All-Tech Direct last week unveiled it plans to join the much-hyped, after-hours trading consortium of electronic communications networks (ECN). By committing to the consortium, All-Techwhich operates the Attain ECNhas become the latest ECN supplier to agree to open up its order book following the close of the U.S. equity markets.
News first surfaced about the ECN consortium in late August (ETW, 8/30/99), when a host of equity trade matching systemsincluding Archipelago, Spear Leeds & Kelloggs Redibook, Bloomberg Financial Markets Tradebook and Datek Onlines Islandsigned a letter of intent to link their respective order books during post-market trading sessions. And since that time, other ECNs, like Strike Technologies, have announced their intentions to share their order books after hours.
Linda Lerner, general counsel for Attainan individual investor oriented ECNsays that All-Tech decided to throw its hat into the ring in order to attract investors who might otherwise be hesitant to trade in the potentially volatile after-hours market. "Liquidity attracts liquidity, and the ECNs have probably recognized that one ECN alone, reacting in a vacuum, is not an appropriate modality for ECNs to operate in," she says.
The consortium idea, Lerner adds, calls for an ECN participating in the project to build separate interfaces to each individual ECN. " So I suppose one ECN could always refuse to make an arrangement with another," she says.
That said, Lerner emphasizes that Attain is already on the verge of completing an interface agreement with Strike. Moreover, she says, Attain is also presently reviewing interface proposals for Redibook and Tradebook.
Currently, Attain operates only during regular trading hoursfrom 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EST. But Lerner, while declining to provide specific details, says that Attain expects to extend its hours of operation "very shortly."