10.03.2011
By Terry Flanagan

CBSX Eyes Growth With NSX Acquisition

The Chicago Board Options Exchange’s CBSX unit will be boosted by the acquisition of the NSX.

With the acquisition of the National Stock Exchange, CBOE’s CBSX instantly bolsters its standing as it acquires some key functionality.

“(The acquisition of the NSX) was very important to us,” David Harris, chief executive officer of CBSX, told Markets Media. “CBSX is a facility of CBOE, so we are a renter of our SRO (or Self-Regulatory Organization) license. So now we’re an owner. This is a valuable asset that CBSX needed.”

Also as part of the acquisition of the NSX, the CBSX in effect has attained a routing broker-dealer, which functions as an outbound router, an asset that it did not have before. The addition also gave the exchange the new ability to execute on a multi-book model common with larger exchanges. “When you’re a single-book model, it’s very difficult to compete with the larger markets that can offer customers low execution in one book, and routing strategies to the national market system in their own higher-priced book,” noted Harris.

The discussions on the deal began as early as the Spring, according to Harris. The companies hope to close on the transaction by December, pending regulatory approval.

Following the completion of the acquisition, the CBSX expects to operate the NSX as a separate entity, which will allow it to keep key functionality in place.

“We need to maintain the NSX as a separate SRO so we can have a second protected quote,” noted Harris. “The NSX performs order delivery for lit ATSs, and we’re interested in continuing that service. In addition, right now, the NSX’s Blade technology is the only technology that I’m aware of that supports order delivery.”

In July, CBSX relocated its trading operations to the East Coast from Chicago and began trading from a datacenter in Secaucus, N.J.  The move was aimed at increasing execution speed for the majority of CBSX’s customers, which are located on the East Coast. The NSX, which was formerly known as the Cincinnati Stock Exchange, has operations in nearby Jersey City.

The move to add the NSX to its umbrella will help the CBSX expand its overall equities market share. According to BATS Global Markets, CBSX currently has about 0.1 percent market share, while the NSX has 0.53 percent share.

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