March 21, 2013
March 20, 2013
Elizabeth M. Murphy Secretary
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
100 F Street, N.E. Washington, D.C. 20549-0609
Re: File No. SR-CTA/CQ-2013-01
Dear Ms. Murphy:
We submit this letter in response to the Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of the Sixteenth Charges Amendment to the Second Restatement of the CTA Plan and Eighth Charges Amendment to the Restated CQ Plan (the CTA plan).
In 2005 my partner and left careers on Wall street to found Trade Alert LLC, a financial technology company dedicated to building tools for individuals transacting on fragmented and automated securities exchanges. Our proprietary systems consume, augment, and redistribute exchange market data to help participants better comprehend complex and fragmented market activity. Our clients include the largest Wall Street broker-dealers and active retail investors in the US and abroad. We believe our systems and ideas contribute to the evolution of markets and trading technology that is crucial to the healthy growth of US markets. We currently employ seven individuals in our New York City office.
We believe the imposition of new redistribution charges for CTA and CTA-B data as specified in the CTA plan is harmful to competition and innovation among market participants and ultimately harmful to clients. The Consolidated Tape Association is effectively a monopoly when it comes to accurate real-time price information for the majority of US equity listings and we feel such new flat-rate fees, in addition to increases in per-user entitlement charges and coincident increases in existing distribution fees, is anticompetitive because data consumers have no free-market alternative. In addition, the flat fee nature of the proposed monthly redistribution charges favors well-established large-scale vendors while imposing a much greater additional cost-per-user on start-ups and niche data providers such as ourselves. Based on the new CTA Plan, our total monthly data costs will jump more than 350% on April 1. Unfortunately the challenging business environment caused by severely declining listed security volumes over recent years limits our ability to pass on such costs to clients.
We acknowledge the needs of Exchanges and the Consolidated Tape Association to monetize the trading process, but we strongly disagree with CTA statement on Page 18 that the proposed fees do not impose any burden on competition that is not necessary or appropriate. As a smaller competitor in the industry we anticipate a severe burden and increased barrier to entry for similar firms, which will stifle much of the innovation that helps US Markets maintain their competitive edge.
President and Founder, Trade Alert LLC