New Chapter For BATS Global Markets As They Acquire Hotspot FX

New Chapter For BATS Global Markets As They Acquire Hotspot FX

New Chapter For BATS Global Markets As They Acquire Hotspot FX

BATS announced closing the Hotspot acquisition on Friday, and by all appearances are going about it with typical no-nonsense efficiency. Having known Joe Ratterman from our days back at Bridge together around the turn of the millennium and a number of other stand-up guys over there, I’m personally quite happy to see their continued success  – and anything but surprised.

I had the pleasure of stopping by the BATS offices in Kansas City not too long ago on a customer visit out there and had what I imagine is a fairly typical reaction, particularly from anyone who’s worked at an incumbent exchange – where’s the rest of it? BATS is as lean an outfit as you can ask for, which is as anyone who’s succeeded in the technology space knows is a force multiplier when built on a solid foundation of ‘A game’ players. It’s not always easy running lean, but the freedom from political drama and organizational chaos it affords you is the far better side of the trade.

Most exchange integrations and migrations are an unmitigated disaster. It’s hard, far from glamorous work, and it’s incredibly dependent upon effective team dynamics and leadership. There was no confusion in the Direct Edge merger – BATS was in charge. it would be their technology (goodbye Windows Server) and their culture that would be the foundation. But you could tell the Edge people were treated with respect, and the best of them put in seats where they could thrive. No doubt the same will be true of Hotspot.

I don’t mean for this to be a puff piece. But in an industry that has seen so many mergers and acquisitions go so terribly, it’s refreshingly uplifting to see it done right. Moreover, knowing the integration will be handled properly means we now have the promise of a second exchange moving into FX trading, thereby accelerating the marriage of cash equities and foreign exchange markets. Market structure evolution is alive and well, and part of what makes this industry a fun place to work.

So – hats off to the BATS folks. I look forward to seeing what’s next.

– Ken Barnes
SVP Corporate Development

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