FINSwire Jul 12 2011

New U.S. Equities Head at Nasdaq

By jacob bunge

Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. named Michel Finzi as the new head of U.S. equities for the exchange operator's transaction services group, filling a key role as a slowdown in stock trade drags on.

Finzi, who will start at Nasdaq later this summer, was most recently head of business development for ConvergEx RealTick, where he led sales and marketing efforts to trading clients. He takes over for Brian Hyndman, who in April shifted to oversee Nasdaq OMX's market data operations.

In his new role, Finzi will handle strategy, sales and market operations for Nasdaq's three U.S. equity exchanges. He takes over as trading in U.S. stocks remains sluggish, with June's daily turnover running 22% below year-ago levels, according to research from Barclays Capital.

Mutual fund investors in mid-2010 began departing equity investments in droves, driven to defensive positions by the Greek debt crisis and confidence-rattling events like the May 2010 "flash crash." The pullback left high-frequency trading firms with fewer transactions to trade against.

Finzi, departing RealTick following its December acquisition by ConvergEx Inc., will look to develop new offerings for brokers and trading firms in stocks and also will oversee Nasdaq OMX's trade reporting facility, which serves equity trades carried out privately within banks and on private electronic platforms.

The three stock markets run by Nasdaq OMX compete for business against 10 other registered stock exchanges, as well as dozens of "dark pool" venues and firms that deal shares internally.

"We intend to leverage Michel's background in multi-asset class trading platforms, sales and client management experience and electronic communication networks to continue to make Nasdaq OMX the premier liquidity venue servicing all market participants and investors," said Eric Noll, executive vice president of Nasdaq OMX.

The exchange operator was engaged in a high-stakes battle this spring to acquire rival exchange NYSE Euronext, an effort it eventually abandoned in May.

Last week, NYSE Euronext investor-owners approved a plan to merge with German exchange operator Deutsche Boerse AG, one step closer to creating a bigger competitor to Nasdaq OMX in European stock markets and U.S. options trade.

Shares of Nasdaq were flat just after market open Tuesday at $24.13. The stock is up 33% in the past year.

Jacob Bunge and Mia Lamar are reporters for Dow Jones Newswires, where this story originally appeared. Write to Jacob and Mia.




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