Alternative trading system ATS is a US and Canadian regulatory term for a non-exchange trading venue that matches buyers and sellers to find counterparties for transactions. Alternative trading systems are typically regulated as broker-dealers rather than as exchanges although an alternative trading system can apply to be regulated as a securities exchange.
In general, for regulatory purposes an alternative trading system is an organization or system that provides or maintains a market place or facilities for bringing together purchasers and sellers of securities, but does not set rules for subscribers other than rules for the conduct of subscribers trading on the system.
These venues play an important role in public markets for allowing alternative means of accessing liquidity.
They can be used for trading large blocks of shares away from the normal exchange, a practice that could otherwise skew the market price in a particular direction, depending on a security's market capitalization and trading volume. ATSs are generally electronic but don't have to be. ATSs can be distinguished from electronic communication networks ECNs , which are a "fully electronic subset of ATSs that automatically and anonymously match orders".
Regulation ATS was introduced by the SEC in and is designed to protect investors and resolve any concerns arising from this type of trading system. Specifically, it requires that an alternative trading system comply with the reporting and record keeping requirements Rule b 5 ii of Reg ATS, if during at least 4 of the preceding 6 calendar months, such alternative trading system had:. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
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