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August 6, 2009

Citi Drops Lava EMS for Buyside in Favor of Vendor Offering

By Nina Mehta

Citi, in the next several months, will move institutional clients from its internally built LavaX execution management system to vendor TradingScreen's EMS, TradeSmart. As part of the move, the big broker is dropping LavaX from its suite of offerings.

The reason for the shift: buyside interest in trading more asset classes. "LavaX was a single-stock U.S. equities-only system," said Shane Swanson, head of transaction services in Citi's Lava Trading business group. "The decision was to either build a global multi-asset-class platform on our own or find an appropriate partner with an advanced system. We chose TradingScreen." While TradingScreen is now the "preferred" EMS provider for Citi's buyside customers, institutions can access Citi's trading platform through a range of order management systems and EMS providers. Citi's Lava offerings for the sellside are not affected by this decision about the buyside EMS.

Citi's LavaX users will be migrated to TradeSmart over the next several months, Swanson said. They will have access to algorithms from 31 brokers on TradeSmart, up from 18 on LavaX. Buyside firms can execute equities, listed derivatives, foreign exchange and fixed income on the TradeSmart platform. New York-based TradingScreen is integrating Lava's ColorBook smart order router and other Citi execution services into its TradeSmart platform. "This partnership will provide substantial advantages to those clients using TradingScreen," Swanson said.

 

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