15 Sep 2015

Dark Pools - who brings light into them?

News that Credit Suisse has reached a settlement on the 'dark pool' probe may bring relief to its shareholders, management and some market professionals. But it still leaves open the question how the practice of executing orders in these pools is policed. By definition the transactions are designed to provide a certain (total?) amount of privacy and anonymity. Market impact is (hopefully in the eyes of the users) lessened. But are the prices achieved fair - especially for the ultimate owners of the assets bought or sold, the investors holding the mutual funds or pension funds that are using dark pools? Are all transactions logged and published so that the end investor can check them against a consolidated tape (price, amount and exact time?). If not then this leaves too much leeway and encourages trickery that would rival the abuses that came to light in the foreign exchange and interbank (Libor) markets.