Bats Intensifies Price War in Currencies to Build Market Share

Bats Global Markets Inc. will open another front in its price war on June 1 when it offers free foreign-exchange trading to some customers on its Hotspot FX platform.

Traders who take the bid or offer on 30 currency pairs including the Russian ruble, South African rand and Swedish krona will pay no fees until at least the end of the year, the company said Thursday in a statement. Bats will use the offer to attract market share to the foreign-exchange platform it bought earlier this year. It has already sought to win customers by offering free gold and silver trading against the dollar and through a new hub near London.

“We really alerted the industry that we intended to be aggressive on price when we announced free gold,” Bats Chief Executive Officer Chris Concannon said in an interview. “We actually can deliver these types of prices for a sustainable period.”

The Lenexa, Kansas-based company is best known for its stock markets in the U.S. and Europe, where it has the biggest market share of any single venue. Now, Concannon, who became CEO in March, is expanding in foreign exchange by using Bats’s technology to undercut the prices of incumbent trading venues.

Hotspot FX had average-daily volume of $28.4 billion in April, compared with $25 billion in 2014 and $29.5 billion the year before. Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, operates a competing currency platform.

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