February 19, 2013 7:18 pm

Barnes to leave UBS ‘dark pool’

Robert Barnes is planning to step down from his role as chief executive of UBS MTF, one of Europe’s largest “dark pools” after spending 18 years with the broker, according to two people familiar with the situation.

In the two years since its launch under Mr Barnes’s stewardship, UBS MTF had become the third-largest dark pool in Europe behind two platforms owned by BATS Chi-X Europe. According to data from Fidessa, the broker-owned venue had a 22.3 per cent market share.

He is expected to start his own consultancy business. Mr Barnes was unavailable for comment. UBS declined to comment.

So-called “dark pools”, in which prices are only displayed after a trade has been executed, are becoming an increasingly popular way for fund managers to trade large blocks of shares without the market price moving against them, or seeing their orders sliced into smaller sizes by computer algorithms.

UBS MTF also competes in Europe with rivals such as Turquoise, Liquidnet and Posit, run by ITG, the US broker.

The alternative trading platform also benefited from the introduction of interoperability of clearing houses in Europe in 2011. Regulatory approval allowed customers greater choice over where to clear their trades. The venue offered a choice between x-Clear, owned by the SIX Group, the Swiss Exchange, and EuroCCP, the European equities clearing house.

Mr Barnes has been with UBS for more than 18 years, also serving as head of market structures for the past seven years.

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