09.23.2014
By Terry Flanagan

Citi Expands Total Touch in Europe

Citi is launching Total Touch in Europe, which aims to make it easier for institutional investors to execute equity block trades in the region, after the offering traded securities with a notional value of more than $100bn in the US.

Total Touch was launched in the US in 2010 and was one of the first electronic services of its kind to blend high- and low-touch capabilities according to Citi. The offering was launched in single US stocks and has since expanded to include ETFs, American depository receipts and Canadian symbols. Last year Total Touch was launched in Brazil.

Mani Singh in global equity execution sales at Citi told Markets Media: “Since its inception, Total Touch has traded over 3.5 billion shares in US single stocks and ETFs representing a notional value of more than $100bn. The introduction of Total Touch in Europe is a very important step to increase price transparency and aims to optimize the skill of our sales and trading staff while using quantitative technology to achieve best execution.”

Citi’s high-touch traders provide the price of doing a block but clients can trade on indications of interest electronically, without having to enter into a negotiation, which reduces information leakage.

“There has been a sense of frustration from investors on the overall quality of IOIs,” added Singh. “Introducing actionable IOIs such as Total Touch removes the ability to fade. Clients know that liquidity will be there if they interact directly with the IOI.”

Total Touch will initially support approximately 560 symbols across European equity markets, which Singh said represents approximately $3bn of actionable liquidity.

“In Europe the liquidity landscape is challenging, electronic trading has caused trades to be sliced into smaller pieces and clients find it difficult to reaggregate trades at block level,” Singh added.

In Europe equity trading is still fragmented among national exchanges. When Aquis Exchange launched last year it said the relevant national exchange and Bats Chi-X Europe account for a market share of more than 90% for every equity market in Europe. There is also no consolidated tape for the region making it difficult to measure best execution.

Sean Shanker, Citi’s global head of total touch products said in a statement: “The European equities market is at a crucial and unique phase in its evolution. The intersection of experienced human trader expertise and robust electronic capabilities creates an opportunity for market participants to take advantage of a unique approach to trading.”

Featured image via Dollar Photo Club

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