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September 17, 2008

Get Your Programs

By Michael Scotti

There's information about two distinct programs in this issue. In one feature story, we report how U.S. firms are expanding their program trading overseas in a big way. The other program is a different kind: our third annual conference on institutional trading-"Traders Magazine Live: Block Trading Drill Down," on Sept. 24 in New York City.

First, the stories: Program trading, according to a Greenwich Associates report, is growing with the expansion of overseas assets. However, the increase in program trading for non-U.S. stocks is growing at a much faster rate than international assets. You'll find some interesting details plucked by senior writer James Ramage, who drilled down into the information in much greater detail than Greenwich provided. You can read more about the state of international program trading on page 46.

Last month's focus on the New York Stock Exchange is followed in this issue by a feature on Nasdaq's efforts to woo away listings from the Big Board. The story outlines how Nasdaq created a business model to deliver information to companies about the gyrations of their stocks in the marketplace. Information is the mother's milk of trading, and Nasdaq's goal is to fill the void created when Reg NMS and the NYSE Hybrid market neutered specialists.

Finally, just a couple weeks remain to secure a seat for Traders Magazine Live. You can take a peek at the conference lineup on page 97. A substantial amount of time and effort went into crafting each session and securing each speaker-the conference is content-driven, not one of the sponsor-dominated events that have become so prevalent in the industry today.

Currently there are more algorithms, more dark pools and more venues for trading equities than ever before. But to borrow a frequently asked question from the political landscape this election year: Are you better off today than you were four years ago? That question should provide an excellent rudder to the day's discussion, offering an easy reference point or benchmark.

We're taking a holistic approach to examining the state of institutional block trading: The morning session will follow the money trail and analyze the "trading pyramid," with the pension funds/plan sponsors at the top; the afternoon's focus will be marketplace-centric. And as always, this conference will be forward-thinking. I hope to see you there.

 

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