03.01.2012
By Terry Flanagan

B-D Looks Ahead

The broker-dealer formerly known as Pipeline Financial Group will look to shift the focus of its operations going forward.

Among the changes will be a renewed focus on its product offerings following name change to Aritas Securities.

“A lot of our changes came after discussions with clients,” said Jay Biancamano, Aritas executive chairman, told Markets Media. “We’ve changed our management, closed Milstream and streamlined our operations.”

The name change from Pipeline to Aritas reflects what the company says is a new focus on innovation, transparency and integrity. “Aritas is a new vision for agency trading,” said Biancamano.

Although its Pipeline ATS dark pool is still operational, the company has deemphasized it and instead put forth its efforts on its three main services, including Alpha Pro, as well as its algorithm switching engine and its block market. The switching engine allows traders to switch from one algorithm to another depending on short-term market conditions. Alpha Pro then provides an additional layer of analysis, suggesting certain strategies and algorithms. Its block market is a crossing network for large institutional orders.

With the past behind it and with a new mission statement, Aritas will look toward growth opportunities in the year ahead.

“There’s a lot of upside, we have a unique product that is proven and has been used by large institutions,” said Biancamano. “The biggest unknown is the market itself, as the trading volume has not been there. Our company has the full backing of its investors and at this point we have a good runway and are looking to grow.”

Biancamano in November was appointed as executive chairman, replacing the retiring Alfred Berkeley. He was previously global head of marketplace and corporate strategy at Liquidnet, and prior to that a vice president and director at the newly rebranded ITG.

Berkeley and former chief executive officer Fred Federspiel, who resigned in November, were fined by the Securities and Exchange Commission a combined $1.2 million. The SEC accused Pipeline of profiting ahead of orders that clients had placed at its dark pool, Pipeline ATS. The dark pool had presented itself as a crossing network that matched orders between clients, but in actuality its liquidity was mostly supplied by an affiliate, Milstream Securities, that participated in about 80 percent of all trades. It has since divested itself of the Milstream subsidiary, per the request of clients.

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