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UNX Partners With Liquidnet On New Block Trading Integration

Liquidnet is working with UNX's Catalyst EMS to create more real-time interaction with its block liquidity.

UNX LLC and Liquidnet are collaborating on an integrated block trading solution to increase the buy-side’s execution capabilities, revealed Thomas Kim, CEO of UNX, in an interview with Advanced Trading earlier this week

As the first step in their partnership, UNX has integrated Liquidnet’s full suite of electronic trading services and algorithms directly into UNX’s broker-neutral Catalyst trading platform, according to today’s announcement.

Both companies have entered into a strategic partnership whereby Catalyst EMS users will obtain “seamless” access to Liquidnet’s global liquidity pools. The algorithms have access to Liquidnets dark pools, noted Kim.

Because UNX's Catalyst has an open technology framework, said Kim, Liquidnet is also working on new functionality that will enable more real-time interaction between the Catalyst EMS trade blotter and Liquidnet’s block pools, which is not possible in other legacy EMSs, according to Kim. He said Liquidnet has adopted the Catalyst software development tool kit (SDK) and is working on something that is much more seamless than traditional “blotter scraping.”

“UNX’s true broker-neutral, fully extensible and customizable technology will allow us to create the optimal platform for interacting with our block liquidity,” commented Alfred Eskandar, Head of U.S. Equities at Liquidnet, in today’s news announcement. “And by using the UNX SDK, we can easily introduce new functionality and trading strategies that will enhance the experience for our Members and program trading clients,” further stated Eskandar.

While both companies are still collaborating on what the automation looks like, Kim said, “Its about creating a scenario where it’s easier for the client go get access to liquidity on some of the large blocks of transactions they’re trying to get out.” Today, there are a lot of steps, clicks and points, explained Kim. “We’re trying to take a lot of work out of the hands of the clients and offer a more seamless solution that is more aggressive than your typical blotter scraping,” he said.

Emphasizing that UNX is a broker neutral platform, Kim suggested that Liquidnet might be more comfortable working with Catalyst than other EMSs. “They no longer have to rely on the good wishes of a broker- sponsored EMS where they may be inherent conflicts that exist.” Kim says the electronic trading services and algorithms have already been integrated into Catalyst. “For program traders and portfolio traders, we’re also looking to see what more we can integrate of what Liquidnet has created,” said Kim. This was possible, Kim said because Liquidnet “embraced the SDK and the platform and they are willing to go the distance in making more value-added content available to their clients,” he said.

“We are now aggressively working on the integration work with the block trading,”said Kim, emphasizing that there are “true synergies” between the two companies. Many of UNX’s customers are program traders, portfolio traders, traditional asset managers and hedge funds. “It maps up very nicely,” he said. As part of the partnership, both companies will market each other’s services. UNX clients will have the chance to become members of Liquidnet if they want to trade through the electronic liquidity pools, and Liquidnet will introduce Catalyst to its members, said Kim.

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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