Chi-X Names Fildes as Australia CEO to Replace Fowler

Chi-X Australia Pty appointed John Fildes as chief executive officer to lead the company, which is the only rival venue to ASX Ltd. for equities trading in the nation.

Fildes, who previously ran strategic development for Getco LLC in Singapore, joins Chi-X this month and will replace current CEO Peter Fowler, who will step down May 1, according to an emailed statement. Fildes oversaw the entry of Getco and Instinet Inc. into the Australian market in former roles.

Chi-X, backed by Nomura Holdings Inc., which began trading in all S&P/ASX 200 Index companies in November 2011, has consistently had at least 10 percent of market share each week since December. Chi-X Australia and ASX compete as the only two public venues of stock trading in the nation.

“This is a real inflection point,” Fildes said in a telephone interview. “The key priority is to get it to 15 percent market share, then 20 and 25 percent, as quickly as possible. I need to get my feet under the desk on Monday morning first.”

Fildes is in the process of relocating from Singapore to Sydney, where he begins work with Chi-X April 8. Chi-X and ASX have faced competition from operators of so-called dark pools, venues that don’t publicly display participants and prices.

Chi-X handled 10 percent of all S&P/ASX 200 Index-listed shares in March, worth A$10.8 billion ($11.3 billion), compared with ASX’s 66 percent, according to Fidessa Group Plc, which helps asset managers track transactions. Nearly 24 percent of shares were traded through off-exchange negotiated share purchases and block trades or dark pools, the data show. Of that, 4 percent went through ASX’s own dark pool, Centrepoint.

Trade Reporting

The alternative venue opened a trade reporting facility in May 2012, allowing share purchases negotiated off-exchange to be reported on its order book, accounting for some of the increase in volume on the platform.

While trading competition exists in Australia, the alternative platforms must use the main bourse’s clearinghouse to trade. Regulators postponed a decision on allowing competition in the business for two years in February.

“It’s disappointing that competition in clearing was postponed for two years because that would have delivered significant benefits to Australian investors,” said Fildes. “There’s been a lot of change over the last few years and the Council of Financial Regulators was cautious about putting more change into the market place.”

Chi-X Global

Chi-X Global Holdings LLC also owns alternative trading platforms in Canada and Japan. The company announced last May 11 that it would shut Chi-East, a joint venture dark pool with Singapore Exchange Ltd., citing disappointing volumes.

“John Fildes has worked in or with the Australian market for two decades and is a well-regarded member of the Australian trading community,” Tal Cohen, chief executive officer of Chi-X Global, said in the statement. “He has held senior positions with various market participants and made significant contributions to industry bodies through his interaction with regulators and government.”

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