Bats Global Markets first attempt at an IPO, on March 23, 2012, was an embarrassment. A technical breakdown forced the company to abort the offering on its own exchange. The demons were exorcised on April 15, 2016, when 15.3 million Bats Global Markets shares began trading on BZX Exchange, one of the Lenexa, Kansasbased companys four equity platforms. The IPO was not the finish line, says Chris Concannon, 48, president since December 2014 and CEO since March 2015. Investors clearly have agreed, pushing the $19 offering price as high as $29 on May 31 before it fell to $25 as of early July. In the context of the companys business accomplishments, the IPO was almost an afterthought. Founded in 2005 as an alternative trading system and licensed as a U.S. exchange in 2008, Bats is now No. 2 in U.S. equity market share and No. 1 in Europe, runs two fast-growing U.S. options markets and owns foreign exchange platform Hotspot, whose acquisition from KCG Holdings was engineered by Concannon last year. In early May, Bats reported that its first-quarter operating income had virtually doubled, to $62 million, from a year earlier. The company also claimed a market-leading 26.2 percent share of trading in exchange-traded funds it has been No. 1 since February 2014 with 14 listings added in the first quarter, bringing the total to 70. On April 1, Bats acquired news and data provider ETF.com as part of its plan to be a major player across the entire ETF ecosystem, says Concannon, a graduate of Catholic Universitys Columbus School of Law, onetime Securities and Exchange Commission staff attorney, former head of transaction services at Nasdaq and president and COO of Virtu Financial. I have always loved the exchange business, he says, adding, The growth of fintech services will undoubtedly redefine the costs of investing. He believes blockchain, or distributed ledger, will play a role in the future of the financial services sector, but we are at the very beginning of the discovery process.
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