Dark Pool Down in Canada

Canada is losing one of its three dark pools.

Perimeter Financial will shut down its BlockBook ATS on February 19, citing a lack of business. The move is part of a plan by the owner of Perimeter to dismantle the company.

BlockBook launched in 2005. It reported its share volume data only once in early 2007. During the first two months of that year, the system traded 8.4 million shares.

The announcement of the closure of BlockBook is part of a plan by Doug Steiner, the founder of the firm, to unwind the financial technology company. The downsizing began last August when Perimeter closed its trading system for asset-backed commercial paper.

Perimeter also plans to sell its stake in Omega, an ECN, and a bond-trading platform. Steiner told The Globe and Mail newspaper last November that the competition was too stiff. “This is a game for big players,” he said. “Particularly in the U.S., dealers and banks are investing hundreds of millions of dollars a year in infrastructure. We’re competing with people who are spending 10 to 15 times as much [as we are] every year on R&D, which makes it quite hard. We’ve invested less than $70 million in this business.”

At least two senior Perimeter executives have found a new home at Canada’s Belzberg Technologies. Judith Robertson, formerly a Perimeter executive vice president responsible for the launch of BlockBook, joined Belzberg as its president and CEO in December.

Chris Jackson, a Perimeter managing director, joined Belzberg this month as president of Canadian operations.

The closing of BlockBook leaves two dark pools operating in Canada, one owned by Liquidnet and another by ITG.