The New York Stock Exchange shut down due to technical problems for hours on July 8. But trading went on. Because the NYSE isn’t the only game in town anymore — and we don’t mean because of the NASDAQ and the Nikkei. We’re talking about what are called “dark pools” — private stock trading platforms. The name itself, like the “dark web,” conjures images of anonymity and shady deals beyond the reach of regulators.
But these days alternative markets like this make up “40 perfect of all stock trading volume,” according to the New York Times. Big names like Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse are in the “dark pools.” And so is the retail trader most likely — his trades probably aren’t executed on the NYSE, but at one of the alternative exchanges. They’re especially valuable when a problem at one exchange, even the NYSE, could create havoc, but instead is a blip in the trading day. Nobody owns more of these exchanges than BATS Trading, which owns four exchanges.