Plato Partnership Newsletter March 2021

Welcome to the Plato Partnership newsletter, providing you with news, views and exclusive insight on the latest developments in the Plato Partnership, a not-for-profit company bringing creative solutions and efficiencies to today’s equity marketplace.

In this newsletter we share some key insights into our key partnerships with Turquoise, Urvin.Compliance, Babelfish and BMLL.

For more information about Plato Partnership or to get involved click here.

Best regards, Mike Bellaro and the Plato Executive Team.


Dark Pool No 1: Turquoise Plato

In 2020, Turquoise Plato stayed ahead of the curve, steadfastly helping clients successfully navigate turbulent markets.

👉Read our recent article in Best Execution Publication: Industry viewpoint : 2020 reviewed : Turquoise Plato – Best Execution

February 2021

Turquoise Plato™ 

Turquoise Plato Block Discovery™ €419.1bn matched since 2014 launch to end-February 2021 of which €415.4bn or 99% traded since September 2016 cooperation announced with Plato Partnership.
Turquoise Plato Trade At Last™ launched on 19 October 2020.

Turquoise Plato™ overall Monthly value traded equalled €26.9bn in February 2021, of which 51% via Turquoise Plato Block Discovery™

TRQM – FCA regulated Turquoise
Turquoise Plato™ Monthly value traded equalled €9.3bn in February 2021, of which 54% via Turquoise Plato Block Discovery™
Turquoise Plato Block Discovery™ maximum trade size for all trades in February 2021 was €14.7mn                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
Turquoise Plato Block Discovery™ average trade size for MiFID II ESMA Band 8 and 9 blue chips above LIS was €1.3mn in February 2021
Turquoise Plato Block Discovery™ average trade size for all trades in February 2021 was €380K

TQEM – AFM regulated Turquoise Europe
Turquoise Plato™ Monthly value traded equalled €17.6bn in February 2021, of which 50% via Turquoise Plato Block Discovery™
Turquoise Plato Block Discovery™ maximum trade size for all trades in February 2021 was €15.5mn                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
Turquoise Plato Block Discovery™ average trade size for MiFID II ESMA Band 8 and 9 blue chips above LIS was €1.4mn in February 2021
Turquoise Plato Block Discovery™ average trade size for all trades in February 2021 was €430.1K

Turquoise Plato Lit Auctions™

Industry leading quality of execution evidenced by independent performance analytic firm big xyt
Unique liquidity available 

  • in UK and European symbols
  • in UK AIM Securities 
  • in International Order Book segment, including Shanghai Segment of IOB, e.g. Huatai Securities = the first issuance via Shanghai-London Stock Connect

Effective 13 July 2020, members can use an enhanced Good For Auction (GFA) order-type into Turquoise Plato Lit Auctions™ adding significant workflow benefit. The GFA order will bring frequent batch auctions into more agile, opportunistic and liquidity seeking routing logic, whilst preserving the demonstratable execution quality associated with Turquoise Plato Lit Auctions™ (TRQA/TQEA MIC). When sent to Turquoise Plato Lit Auctions™, a GFA order will either trigger a new auction event or join a live ongoing auction if it meets with suitable contra-liquidityif no suitable contra-liquidity is met it will be cancelled immediately back to the sender. Turquoise members, therefore, can use this new GFA order proactively to search for liquidity within Turquoise Plato Lit Auctions™ with absolute minimal latency, and subsequently an improved risk return profile when seeking unique liquidity across the European market landscape. The use of price limits when sending GFA orders further enhances the TRQA proposition as a highly efficient destination in the search for liquidity both at and away from midpoint. All that is required to access this functionality is a simple change in the Time In Force (TIF) from DAY to GFA.

Turquoise Plato Lit Auctions™ is truly multilateral in nature, looking at February data, only 0.27% of total activity occurred when the same counterparty was on both sides, both orders were received within 100ms AND the order sizes were the same on both the buy and sell.

Turquoise Plato Lit Auctions™ overall Monthly value traded equalled €1,010.3mn in February 2021

TRQA – FCA regulated Turquoise
Turquoise Plato Lit Auctions™ euro value traded in February 2021 totalled €402.2mn

TQEA  – AFM regulated Turquoise Europe
Turquoise Plato Lit Auctions™ euro value traded in February 2021 totalled €608.2mn


PLIA by PLATO Utilises a New U.S. Questionnaire for Best Execution and KYB

Six months after unveiling a new European standard due diligence questionnaire, Urvin.Compliance has released a new questionnaire for the U.S.  With guidance from the U.S. Advisory Board (USAB), which was formed in mid-2020, this questionnaire will modernise the existing due diligence framework so investment managers can ensure best execution standards are being realised.  While the questionnaire is focused on electronic trading protocols and capabilities for equities, the 124 questions cover a lot of ground related to broader issues, such as analytics, team structure, audit, surveillance, reporting, and client confidentiality.

Bill Stephenson, CEO of Urvin.Compliance, said, “After becoming a preferred partnew  of the Plato Partnership in 2020 and the follow-on success of PLIA by PLATO in Europe, we formed the USAB, which includes ten major buyside (representing over $7 trillion in AUM) and several of the largest global sell side firms.  The USAB has been instrumental in creating the latest version of this questionnaire which will become the new standard for U.S. investors.”

Users of both the PLIA platform in U.S. and the PLIA by PLATO platform in Europe can now access this questionnaire, including the ability to customise the template by deleting or adding existing questions from an extensive global database.  The benefits for the sell side are clear; once a question from the new questionnaire is answered for one client, it will automatically populate for all clients asking the same question.  The sell side user would just need to verify the automated response before submitting it to each client.

With higher standards related to best execution by regulators, asset owners, and fund boards, PLIA by PLATO users believe that the responsibility to Know Your Broker (“KYB”) is more important than ever.  Part of this education and validation process can be achieved by leveraging PLIA by PLATO’s capabilities whereby the counterparty responses can be centrally managed, audited, compared, and better understood. This industry-led standardisation process creates a common framework where best practices can become more obvious and transparent.

Jeff Estella, Principal at Estella LLC, a leading independent consultant and adviser to the financial services industry, including Urvin.Compliance, said, “Leveraging this new questionnaire in the U.S. will make it much easier for both the buyside and sell side to communicate on important best execution practices.  As a member of the PLIA US Advisory Board, I think the formation of this questionnaire through a collaborative process ensures that the right kinds of questions are bubbling to the surface, which only makes the industry more transparent and stronger.”

In the future, PLIA will be publishing an updated version of the U.S. questionnaire on a yearly basis, in addition to regional versions that align with local regulatory regimes and market structure nuances.  Additional multi-asset versions will also be compiled to meet other standards, such as the recent FICC Markets Standards Board draft as it relates to algorithmic trading in the fixed income, currency, and commodity markets.

Mike Bellaro, CEO Plato Partnership said “I am delighted that PLIA has released the US questionnaire following the success of the European version. It is a much needed and fundamental ‘KYB’ service and I am sure it will be very well received by the buy and sell-side communities”.
Access to the new questionnaire can be requested here.  
For more information, please visit or 


GTA Babelfish Finds that Retail Names Cost Institutional Investors Three Times More To Trade

Retail may never have it better, but we can’t say the same for institutions.   Data for the second half of 2020 shows that Payment for Order Flow (PFOF) has taken valuable liquidity out of the marketplace.  The result is significantly higher costs and volatility in retail-heavy names for mutual and hedge funds.  We found that trading costs were three times as high for stocks with heavy retail involvement. With retail share at over one-third of market volume, the problem is too big to ignore.   Please contact Jeff Alexander or Linda Giordano at for more information.


BMLL – Award Winning Platometrics Continues to Gain Traction

Platometrics is a useful tool to analyse the Brexit impact:

The first six weeks of 2021 have been characterised by a successful transition of trading volumes from UK listed MTFs to their European counterparts. The UK listed venues combined saw ~€6bn in notional on-venue volumes shift to European venues. The European venues for CBOE, Aquis and Turquoise accounted for 8.6%, 4.0% & 2.2% of on-venue trading respectively (data as of 5th of Feb) a combined total of ~€5.85bn.

In the dark addressable liquidity, however, the European venues have taken a much larger portion of trading notional, with CBOE EU seeing ~28% of notional traded and Turquoise EU having ~15%. (see below for the market overview)

Welcome back Swiss Stocks!

Swiss equities are back trading on UK listed MTFs following an equivalence deal between the two countries’ regulators announced on Thursday 4th February. This means that trading can now be analysed across multiple venues using platometrics – below shows Nestle

For further data, analytics and insights on the full European market, please see and register for free BMLL Whitepaper | Insights into buy-side usage of Level 3 data BMLL commissioned a survey with WBR looking at how they use Level 3 data to improve their algorithmic performance. We surveyed 100 buy-side funds with $10-50bn in AUM and found that:High quality data has become a commonly utilized commodity by most market participants – 74% of respondents say they use Level 3 data in their research programOf the  respondents not using Level 3 data in their research programs – nearly 75% said the main reason was its inaccessibility64% of respondents said that at least 50% of their investment in new data and analytics capabilities will be from buying-in these capabilities41% of respondents saying that they will increase their budget allocations significantly for third-party data as a key element of their quantitative researchOver 80% of respondents said they are already are or very likely to embrace cloud for their data and analytics generation and processing over the next 12 – 18 monthsTo read the full report please visit:

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