It was big news when the NYSE announced it was seeking to start a service that would involve dark orders.

It was bigger news when the SEC approved a one-year pilot program for the proposed service. While this might strike some as somewhat odd–a case of “if you can’t beat them, then join them”–there would appear to be several ways in which the new service is not a plain vanilla dark pool, which the exchange has battled for years.

One executive told Bloomberg that, “The big difference in the program is it’s still operated in the exchange framework. While we are able to segment retail customers, all the rules about how we treat retail customers differently are filed and standardized and submitted to the SEC Dark pools can discriminate with complete discretion.”

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