Efforts to block the growing impact of high frequency trading are flaring up — and not just in the United States. Earlier last week CA Cheuvreux, an agency broker owned by Crédit Agricole Group, with offices in Paris and London, relaunched its internal, broker-crossing network as a multilateral trading facility (MTF) that will aim to provide both institutional and retail clients in Europe with what Peacock calls “clean, pure, unpolluted liquidity." Translation: no high frequency traders welcome. The relaunched venue — called Blink — is being marketed to Cheuvreux clients as facilitating larger size orders and effectively blocking out all high frequency traders, even though technically, an MTF is a regulated market that anyone can access. It will offer trading in 1,700 stocks — mostly small and midcap — spanning 14 of the region’s markets.

The move comes as high frequency trading now accounts for 53 percent of total equity trading in the U.S. and 37 percent of the notional value of equity trading in Europe, according to the latest TABB Group numbers. It also comes at a time when regulators, gearing up for European capital markets-related legislation, known as Mifid II, continue to show signs that they are trying to restrict and possibly force HFT out of the market, a move that TABB Group senior analyst Rebecca Healey, based in London, views as potentially backfiring. “If HFT firms are forced out, the efficiencies they have delivered may well disappear, and the European markets run the risk of becoming substantially less competitive. And it will become harder and more expensive to trade.”

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