Results Are in for NYSE’s Retail Pilot Program

(Bloomberg) — NYSE Euronext is trading about 6 million shares a day through a pilot program aimed at attracting retail investors, according to Michael Geltzeiler, the exchange operator’s chief financial officer.

While 6 million shares isn’t a “big number,” the program is “off to a good start,” Geltzeiler said today at a Barclays Plc conference in New York. Average daily U.S. equities volume was 6.5 billion shares in the first eight months of this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“It’s not a huge initiative,” Geltzeiler said. “It’s an interesting strategic initiative. It’s a business we feel we ought to be able to play in and the SEC is allowing us to.”

The 12-month pilot program approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission began Aug. 1. It allows exchanges to compete with wholesalers or securities firms owned by Citigroup Inc. and UBS AG that execute orders for individual investors sent from retail brokers. Executions through the retail liquidity program must occur at least a tenth of 1 cent better than the best price at which other market participants can trade.

Transactions across 281 companies involving almost 2.7 million shares with an average of $0.0016 in price improvement per share took place through the program on Aug. 9, the company said in a statement the next day. The average trade size in the program was about 2,300 shares, compared to less than 300 in NYSE-listed companies at the exchange operator.

Brokers supplying orders for retail clients on NYSE include high-frequency firms Hudson River Trading LLC, Getco LLC, RGM Advisors LLC, Tradebot Systems Inc. and two units of Virtu Financial LLC, according to NYSE Euronext.