Nasdaq wins bid to manage key data processor for stock trading

Reuters News
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Posted: Nov 05, 2014 7:02 PM

By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Nasdaq OMX Group Inc <NDAQ.O> on Wednesday won a contract to manage a stock market data processor that sparked a three-hour trading halt in 2013 and recently was at the center of a stand-off among exchanges over who they would select as the winner.

Representatives from 14 U.S. stock exchanges and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority selected Nasdaq after a months-long bidding process, according to a statement from Jordan & Jordan, a Wall Street consultancy that managed the bid.

Nasdaq agreed to a service contract that will require the SIP to be available 99.98 percent of the time, Jordan & Jordan said. The exchange operator had managed the 'securities information processor' (SIP) for years without a hitch until a malfunction sparked the trading halt in August 2013.

The selection of Nasdaq will lead to the formation of a limited liability company that an exchange source said would be called CTC LLC, short for Consolidated Tape C.

Tape C is jargon for the Nasdaq-listed stocks whose price and quotation information used to be published on a tape. Last sale prices and quotations from all the U.S. stock exchanges are consolidated by the SIP and then disseminated to the market.

Nasdaq last year said it no longer wanted to manage the SIP and demanded changes to the contract for running the processor, including the creation of a limited liability company. Nasdaq in September won a contract to administer the SIP's billing.

After the SIP malfunctioned, the Securities and Exchange Commission ordered all the exchange operators to bolster the processors' resiliency and to implement back-up systems.

Nasdaq also agreed to swap the system of the current SIP it manages to INET technology, a move that will reduce the time it takes to transmit stock prices and quotations to 50 microseconds in early 2016, Jordan & Jordan said.

Within a year after INET technology is in place, the delivery time will be cut to 25 microseconds. According to data published by a unit of the New York Stock Exchange, trades in Nasdaq stocks were executed on average in 720 microseconds in the second quarter.

Nasdaq won the vote after 11 firms submitted documents showing their intent to bid and four of the firms were short-listed as finalists, Jordan & Jordan said.

The four finalists were Nasdaq, Thesys Technologies LLC, CenturyLink and a unit of exchange operator Miami International Holdings Inc. Several votes deadlocked over Nasdaq and Thesys, a unit of proprietary trading firm Tradeworx, sources close to the bidding process told Reuters.

A breakdown of the voting was not detailed, but an exchange source said the vote was unanimous.

(Reporting by Herbert Lash; Editing by James Dalgleish)