Nasdaq - Best North American Trading Venue
Nasdaq is recognised as one of the world's leading technology companies, from the financial technology and corporate and data services it provide to hundreds of capital market operators and regulators around the world, to being the listings home of the world's greatest technology companies and young startups blossoming from Silicon Valley and Alley.
The company operates one of the largest networks with its technology driving more than 70 marketplaces in 50 countries and supporting some 41,000 indices across multiple asset classes.
"Nasdaq is the biggest single pool of liquidity in US securities, across Nasdaq-listed securities, NYSE-listed securities, and Exchange Traded Products," says Chuck Mack, AVP, Deputy Head US Equities at Nasdaq.
Technology lies at the heart of Nasdaq. Aside from running its own exchanges, Nasdaq provides technology to more than 70 platforms and powers one in 10 of the world's securities transactions. There is a constant focus on system performance, not merely in relation to speed but also throughput and resiliency.
As Mack explains: "The reason why throughput matters is that when you have a market stress event, your system has to be able to withstand a new influx of traffic. We've made some upgrades this year that have increased our capacity significantly."
Another factor in system performance is resiliency. This includes geographical hardening – using more than one data centre to run its systems on; hardware hardening, where Nasdaq will use multiple applications running on different pieces of hardware; and software hardening, both with respect to its testing regime and by using multiple software applications to do the same job.
"On a separate point, we have a robust surveillance programme that runs on the SMARTS platform," says Mack. "When Nasdaq customers put a trade on they need to be confident that there's nothing untoward happening in the market that could impact their fund's performance."
Nasdaq constantly looks to introduce innovative products such as the introduction of a series of Exchanged Traded Mutual Funds, sponsored by Eaton Vance. Effectively a hybrid between ETFs and mutual funds, they are branded as NextShares and trade on Nasdaq, with the first fund, a US equity strategy, going live on 26 February 2016.
"Market makers can come in and bid a penny above or below the NAV through a proxy. This helps to reduce the cost of these funds by as much as 70 basis points," comments Mack.
One aspect that is central to running a successful exchange is keeping on top of changes in market structure and helping to educate investors on the various developments as they come down the pipe.
"We work closely with the regulators and market participants across the globe to make sure the things we're shaping in the market are going to serve them well. Whether it's MiFID II in Europe or the Tick Size Pilot in the US, we spend significant time preparing and helping customers prepare for new regulatory initiatives," comments Mack.
Nasdaq also chairs the Limit Up/Limit Down Industry Plan committee. As the chair of the committee, Nasdaq, together with other US exchanges, has worked to increase the effectiveness of the LULD plan.
On winning this year's award, Mack says: "It is a true honour. We owe our success to our customers and we're relentlessly committed to providing the best trading experience to all market participants.