President and Chief Executive Officer
Liquidnet Holdings

In February, when world markets were buzzing in reaction to merger agreements like that of NYSE Euronext and Deutsche Börse, block-trading network operator Liquidnet Holdings issued a jaundiced response: “It is not clear to us how these deals will bring back market share or even help to reduce market share losses for the exchanges.” The salvo was in character for New York–based Liquidnet and its CEO, Seth Merrin, who has been a thorn in the sides of major stock exchanges since his system started exclusively serving the institutional marketplace in 2001. Liquidnet reaches 39 markets worldwide for more than 640 firms (up from 38 at the outset) that manage some $12 trillion in total assets. The average U.S. execution in April was 50,000 shares, indicating Liquidnet’s success with orders of a size that challenges on-exchange traders. Merrin, 51, says that in an interconnected world, “the best returns for your shareholders might not be found in your backyard anymore.” His platform’s international principal traded from January through April, $43.1 billion, was 23 percent ahead of last year’s total. Liquidnet has signed SIX Swiss Exchange to operate a joint block-trading facility and is offering similar partnership deals to other markets.