High Frequency Traders Flock to Switzerland

According to Tim Cave of the Financial News, the SIX Swiss Exchange, Switzerland’s national stock market, has attracted a raft of influential high-frequency trading firms this year as attempts to overhaul its electronic trading systems and keep pace with rival European bourses begin to pay off.

HFT Leaders Forum

New joiners include Getco, Spire Europe, Hudson River Trading, Sun Trading and Algo Engineering, as well as Dutch trading house All Options, according to market notices of the Zurich-based exchange.

The firms have followed hot on the heels of other specialist trading firms including Tibra Trading and Virtu Financial, which joined the exchange in December last year.

High-frequency trading firms use sophisticated technology to trade across markets in a fraction of a second and are accounting for a growing proportion of European trading volumes.

The Swiss exchange has made a concerted effort to attract a broader client base under the leadership of Christian Katz, a former Goldman Sachs banker, who joined the market as chief executive in 2009.

Katz said: “We have invested in high performance technology, as well as co-location facilities to ensure we’re meeting the increasingly sophisticated, cross-border demands of our customers. The focus going forward is on internationalising the business.”

The exchange is set to upgrade its Nasdaq OMX-built equities trading platform in the first half of next year, when it will also launch a new co-location service, which will enable companies to place their servers next to the matching engine of the exchange, shaving crucial microseconds off trading times.

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Technology is a key factor considered by high-frequency trading firms when deciding to join a new venue. Getco, one of the world’s biggest liquidity providers which first joined the London Stock Exchange in 2004, admitted to only joining the LSE’s Turquoise venue earlier this year after it had migrated to new trading systems.

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