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Where to trade stocks?

When you place a request to trade a stock, what happens immediately? Basically, your specialist should decide where to go to find someone who needs to sell their shares (if you need to buy) or buy your shares (sell). Your order is referred to as the “direction” of that decision, and the “place of execution” is where the trade actually takes place.

The most natural kind of execution scene is a regular trade, such as the New York Stock Trade or the Nasdaq financial exchange. Be that as it may, other implementation scenes have recently come to the fore, including optional exchange frameworks (ATS), single supplier stages (SDP) and wholesalers. Anyway, what is the contrast between these scenes? Take a look to learn more.

The Securities Exchange Act of 1934 defines securities exchanges, which typically include venues that bring together multiple buyers and sellers. National stock exchanges are also self-regulatory organizations (SROs), meaning they have rules of conduct that apply to their members, despite the fact that their structure differs from that of FINRA. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires national stock exchanges to register, and the SEC maintains a list of registered national stock exchanges.

Stock Exchanges

Companies also “list” their shares on stock exchanges, a process sometimes called “going public.” This means that the company referred to as “listed” shares has met the requirements of the listed exchange.

The consolidated tape contains reports and publications of transactions carried out on the exchange. Pre-trade data showing whether there is interest to buy or sell a stock and at what price is also published on a consolidated tape for anyone to see on exchanges that are also considered “lit” markets.

Optional Exchange Frames (ATS)

The Elective Exchange Framework (ATS) is an electronic execution platform. That works similar to a stock exchange, but is not an SRO. This means that ATSs, like stores, bring together many buyers and sellers. In any case, unlike shops, ATSs do not have individuals (ATSs have “supporters”) nor do they take on administrative duties. Unlike a stock exchange, an ATS can trade both listed and unlisted stocks (also known as OTC equity securities) and fixed income securities such as bonds.

Although not an SRO per se, ATSs are governed by the SEC under the ATS Directive. A broker-dealer that is a member of FINRA is required to operate an ATS in accordance with this regulation. As a result, ATSs are also subject to oversight by FINRA and applicable securities laws and regulations, such as prohibitions on manipulative or disruptive quotations and trading.

In addition, the ATS Regulation imposes fair access and system requirements on ATSs. That trade in large volumes of securities, as well as rules regarding the protection of confidential trading information. The SEC makes available on its website the information required of ATSs that deal in listed stocks and which must be submitted on Form ATS-N.

A “dull fund” is a colloquial term often used to refer to an ATS that doesn’t light up, meaning it doesn’t openly display pre-exchange quote information the way trades do. All ATSs, including dark pools, are required by law to report trades that take place on their platforms. Dark funds are exempt from the requirement to publish offers on their platforms.

FINRA’s Trade Reporting Facility (TRF)

FINRA’s Trade Reporting Facility (TRF) must receive all trade data for listed equity transactions that occur on ATSs, including dark pools. This data is published on a consolidated tape together with the trades that take place on the exchanges. Transactions in unlisted securities must also be reported to FINRA.

The SEC maintains an overview of the ATS that changes over time and is updated regularly.

Wholesale and Single Dealer Platforms (SDPs)

Your broker may execute your order instead of sending it to an exchange. Or send it to an execution venue that is not registered as an ATS or an exchange. However, all over-the-counter and non-ATS activity is still subject to SEC and FINRA oversight. Because it must take place with a registered broker-dealer.

Below are the over-the-counter and non-ATS execution locations:

Single Dealer Platforms: A broker-dealer SDP is an electronic trading platform. Where the company itself is the primary counterparty for each transaction. On an SDP, the broker-dealer operating the SDP is always the counterparty to any trade that takes place on the SDP. Unlike an ATS where the subscriber’s buy and sell orders are matched by the ATS.


A wholesaler is a broker-dealer who acts as a market indicator for other brokers by actively quoting two-sided markets for a particular security. Some brokers, especially retail brokers, send most or all of their orders to one or more wholesalers. It is the wholesaler’s job to fulfill these orders. Which may include fulfilling the orders themselves or routing them to other locations.

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