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Nasdaq last week finally got the nod from the Securities and Exchange Commission to launch its $100 million SuperMontage electronic trading platform as early as Sept. 17 and no later than Oct. 11. The platform will let stock buyers see five levels of prices, rather than just the currently visible best price. It could also consolidate trades on a single computer architecture for faster and more-efficient execution, Nasdaq says.
SuperMontage has been ready to go live and has been testing trades on more than 30 stocks since July. The regulatory battle with competing electronic communications networks has kept the project on hold. Those companies say the system would lead to a Nasdaq monopoly on trading. The SEC ruling gives the ECNs four days to link into SuperMontage or declare that they'll use an alternative display facility created by Nasdaq and operated by its former parent company, NASD, in compliance with an earlier SEC ruling aimed at preventing a SuperMontage monopoly. Should the ECNs use the alternative facility, they'll have 45 days to test it before SuperMontage can go live.
"From a technology and operations point of view, the project is fully implemented and complete," Nasdaq CIO Steve Randich says. Now it's just a question of whether or when the ECNs will link into the system.
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