By Terry Flanagan

Bats Files Market Structure Petition

Bats Global Markets has formally filed a petition for rulemaking on market structure reform with the SEC and issued a call to action to the industry, urging participants to engage in a constructive dialogue to improve the already healthy U.S. equity market for all investors.

The petition was filed on January 21 and published to the website of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on January 29.

In an open letter to the industry in early January, Bats Chief Executive Officer CEO Joe Ratterman and new president Chris Concannon announced the company’s proposal to drive regulatory reform that would reduce potentially excessive incentives to provide liquidity in the most active securities, as well as empower institutional and retail investors by providing them more and better quality information regarding the manner in which their orders are handled.

“We certainly have strong thoughts on how to improve the highly efficient, fair and transparent U.S. equity market and the opinions of all participants are critical if there is to be true regulatory reform,” Ratterman said in a release. “We urge everyone in the industry to engage in a formal, constructive dialogue with the SEC in order to drive incremental improvements for all investors.”

According to the petition, all alternative trading systems should be required to provide customers with their rules of operation, and Rules 605 and 606 of Regulation NMS should be amended to require additional disclosure of achieved execution quality on a broker by broker basis.

Under the Bats proposal, the company estimates that market-wide savings may exceed $850 million annually for those accessing exchange liquidity in the 200 most actively traded U.S. stocks. Industry participants who support any, all or none of the proposals from Bats are asked to file their comments with the SEC by sending a letter or email that references BATS Petition 4-680 to rule-comments@sec.gov.

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