The Brass Utility (Brut) electronic communications network (ECN), which in February completed its merger with one-time competitor Strike Technologies, has named Richard Schenkman its chief executive officer. Schenkman most recently served as executive vice president and chief operating officer of Instinet Corp., the agency brokerage giant that operates the largest ECN.
Though he actually joined Brut near the end of April, Schenkman, who spent 15 years at Instinet, was not officially unveiled as the ECN's CEO until late May. As top dog at Brut, Schenkman will be taking the reins of an ECN whose volume is on the rise, thanks, at least in part, to its prominent stable of well-heeled owners.
After its consolidation with Strike, Brut's list of owners-and potential contributors of order flow-included: Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, Knight/Trimark, Bear Stearns, Salomon Smith Barney and SunGard Data Systems. That group has helped Brut generate an average daily volume of 50 million shares-or 3% of Nasdaq's volume.
Brut has also recently been busy rolling out new technologies in an attempt to build its liquidity. Targeting its institutional customers, the ECN in April said it was going to go live with an interface connecting its Universal Market Access (UMA) front end with the New York Stock Exchange's Designated Order Turn-around (DOT) system. Brut, which currently trades only Nasdaq stocks, has built the electronic connectivity to DOT in anticipation of trading NYSE-listed stocks-for the first time-in the second quarter.
Around that same time, the ECN launched Brut.com-a Java-based, front-end software device aimed primarily at day-trading firms. Today, Brut's client base is comprised mainly of broker/dealers and institutions. But the ECN is hoping that Brut.com-an easy-to-install, front-end workstation device that makes use of Sun Microsystems' Java programming language-will give it a niche in the day-trader market.