UBS to Close Credit Suisse’s Crossfinder Trading Platform in Latest Cuts

UBS Group AG is winding down the electronic-trading platform it inherited from Credit Suisse as the Swiss bank looks to shed more assets from the defunct rival it took over this year.

(Bloomberg) — UBS Group AG is winding down the electronic-trading platform it inherited from Credit Suisse as the Swiss bank looks to shed more assets from the defunct rival it took over this year. 

The bank plans to shut off Crossfinder, the alternative-trading system, and AES, the affiliated algorithmic-trading business, will stop routing orders to the system, people with knowledge of the matter said, asking not to be identified discussing a private matter. Those businesses were once at the forefront of electronic trading and innovation on Wall Street.

Crossfinder’s last day of ATS operations will be Aug. 31, and AES will no longer route orders to Crossfinder after that date, according to the people. Clients were directed to contact UBS Cash Equities ATS staff for assistance with alternative options.

A representative for UBS declined to comment. 

The closing of Crossfinder is the latest in a string of sales or wind-downs by the Swiss bank, which acquired Credit Suisse in a 3 billion-franc ($3.4 billion) government-brokered rescue deal. UBS has said it will give investors more details later this month about the size of the non-core unit that will house the businesses and assets it’s looking to shed.

UBS operates its own ATS, which had 15.7% of the market share in May, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. That dark pool is the largest, with a market share 3 percentage points bigger than its top competitor, Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s Sigma X2, the data show. 

At its peak, Credit Suisse’s Crossfinder was among the largest alternative-trading systems, but volumes have dwindled since the blowup of Bill Hwang’s Archegos Capital Management and the UBS takeover of Credit Suisse. Volume on Crossfinder ATS plunged 70% in the four months through May following the bank’s collapse, as trading desks removed the so-called dark pool from their routing tables, Bloomberg Intelligence wrote last month.

Dark pools are trading venues or private exchanges for securities where buyers and sellers remain anonymous and their orders are hidden until they’re executed. Some investors prefer to trade on these platforms so they can conceal their intended price and avoid moving the market.

Electronic Trading

Credit Suisse struggled to recover from about $5.5 billion in losses tied to Archegos, after the bank poured money into its prime-brokerage business in a quest to gain more equities market share. It’s spent years investing in equities and electronic trading.

Its AES system, Advanced Execution Services, which was developed in the early 2000s, offers a suite of algorithmic-trading strategies, tools and analytics for global trading across equities, options, futures and foreign exchange, according to its website. 

“AES has proven itself as a resilient trading platform during extreme market volatility in the 2008 financial crisis, the 2010 flash crash and the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020,” read a recent “Banking Tech Awards 2022” winners pamphlet.

Crossfinder was a major ATS since its start in 2005 and the third-largest as recently as June 2022, but it’s now barely above the median, with 1.9% market share as of May, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Jackson Gutenplan wrote in July. 

(Updates with UBS ATS market share in sixth paragraph.)

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