SEC Adopts Rules to Enhance Transparency and Oversight of Alternative Trading Systems


On July 18, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC“) voted to adopt amendments to Regulation ATS to enhance operational transparency and regulatory oversight of alternative trading systems (“ATSs”) that trade stocks listed on a national securities exchange.

Certain ATSs will be required to file detailed public disclosures on new Form ATS-N. According to the SEC: “these disclosures are designed to allow market participants to assess potential conflicts of interest and risks of information leakage arising from the ATS-related activities of the ATS’s broker-dealer operator and its affiliates.” Secondarily, the disclosures are intended to inform market participants about how the ATS operates, including order types and market data used on the ATS, fees, the ATS’s execution and priority procedures, and any procedures to segment orders on the ATS.

According to the Fact Sheet published with its Press Release, the SEC stated:

The enhanced disclosures are also designed to enable market participants to compare an NMS Stock ATS to other trading venues and better evaluate the ATS as a potential destination for their orders.

Specifically, Form ATS-N will require an NMS Stock ATS to disclose information regarding:

  • Information about its broker-dealer operator, including identifying information and ownership.
  • ATS-related activities of its broker-dealer operator, and the broker-dealer operator’s affiliates.
  • The manner of operations of the NMS Stock ATS.

The amendments will be published on the Commission’s website and in the Federal Register and will become effective 60 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register. An NMS Stock ATS that is operating pursuant to an initial operation report on Form ATS as of January 7, 2019 will be required to file a Form ATS-N no earlier than January 7, 2019 and no later than February 8, 2019. As of January 7, 2019, an entity seeking to operate as an NMS Stock ATS will be required to file a Form ATS-N.