The launch of Project Turquoise, the bank consortium-backed European equities trading platform, has been delayed until the second quarter of 2008. Initially the platform was on schedule to launch in November, but setting up the core technology with a third-party provider has proven to be a lengthy process, and the consortium has yet to announce a chief executive.
"It's a disappointment, but not an unexpected disappointment," says Adam Sussman, senior consultant with TABB Group. "It's a consortium, and consortiums are going to move slower."
The delay is a setback for Project Turquoise. But ultimately, "The positive is that when they are up and running — and if the partners are committed to providing liquidity into the system — it should be pretty powerful," Sussman notes, adding, "A delay is never a good thing, but getting it right is much more important."
Despite the launch delay, the bank consortium behind Project Turquoise has appointed a board to oversee the platform. Board members include Richard Evans and Pinar Emirdag from Citi, Philip Hylander and Bryan Koplin from Goldman Sachs, Nichola Dobinson and Naseer Al-Khukairi from Credit Suisse, Niki Beattie and Brent Clapacs from Merrill Lynch, Simon Hogan and David Russell from Morgan Stanley, Duncan Higgins and Nick Holtby from UBS, and Garth Ritchie and Stephen McGoldrick from Deutsche Bank.
The same week the delay was made public, the Chi-X platform, a Turquoise competitor, announced the addition of FTSE 100 stocks trading on its system. "Is a three-, four- or five-month delay going to make a big difference for Turquoise in the scheme of things?" asks Sussman. "Probably not. But it definitely gives Chi-X more of a fighting chance."