Bats Accelerates Foreign-Exchange Push With Free London Trading

Bats Global Markets Inc., the operator of Europe’s largest stock market, will offer free currency trading when it opens its London hub next month as part of an effort to muscle into the world’s biggest asset class.

The company’s Hotspot FX unit will open its London matching engine on Sept. 14 and the fee holiday will last through the end of the year, Bats said Tuesday in a statement.

“We are positioning Hotspot to be the leading foreign-exchange platform in Europe,” Bats Chief Executive Officer Chris Concannon said.

By physically locating the hub in the British capital, the exchange operator aims to win market share in the world’s largest center for foreign-exchange trading. Some currency pairs are more active during European hours, while others attract more interest from Asia.

Deutsche Boerse AG, which runs the Eurex futures exchange and Xetra stock market, agreed to buy a currency-trading platform last month, making it the second markets operator after Bats to acquire a foreign-exchange venue this year.

Exchanges are targeting currency trading as a way to diversify. Trading infractions by banks may also have loosened their grip on an asset class they have traditionally dominated.

Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, operates a competing currency platform.

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