Summer C-Level Series: Sean Debotte, OmegaATS

Terry Flanagan

What have been the major themes of your business so far this year?

The major theme has been growth, both by volume and value of equities traded, and in market share. We’ve grown by a little over 200% since this time last year, and the bulk of that growth has been in 2014. We feel it’s due to the hard work we’ve done in improving the quality of our execution – we’ve worked really hard to reduce toxicity and increase average fill size, reduce our order-to-trade ratio, and diversify our trading participants. That’s really paying dividends.

What has surprised you in 2014?

Sean Debotte, Omega ATS

Sean Debotte, Omega ATS

In a broad sense, what has surprised me is how resilient the markets have been in not just by performance but by volume. We’re by no means near record volumes, but at least in Canada they’ve maintained a fairly consistent and steady metric throughout the year. We’re in mid-summer now and average daily volume has not receded nearly as much as we’ve seen in previous years, especially when compared with the high end of the volume band. That’s been a surprise considering there are a lot of hot-button topics lying around, like maker-taker, fragmentation, best execution, and of course the evil red book. So it’s been surprising that investors and traders have still been participating actively.

What are your expectations for the duration of 2014?

We expect continued growth. When we see a little more volume come back into the market after the summer, we know that we’re going to continue to capture market share.

More broadly, we see more discussions surrounding the regulatory climates. The make-take discussions will advance as the pilots take hold in the states, and Canada is reviewing its policies on ‘best ex’ and what that means. In the end I believe that the regulatory environment will become more complex.

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