Waters Rankings 2022: Best crossing network provider—Instinet


Instinet acquired BlockCross in the US in 2018 as a means of helping its clients meet the challenges of executing block trades in complex and dispersed markets. The company has subsequently introduced BlockCross in Emea (at the end of 2019) and Canada (at the end of 2021). It plans to launch BlockCross in Hong Kong imminently. According to Instinet, demand for BlockCross’s “blotter scraping”  functionality, which optimizes interaction with a client’s order blotter, has driven its growth across all regions. 

“We’re so honored to be chosen as the best crossing network provider for the third year in a row in the Waters Rankings. Block liquidity continues to be a critical yet challenging goal. Instinet’s role as an agency broker is to help clients access the widest possible variety of opportunities for quality liquidity with speed and minimal impact. Awards like this remind us of why it is so important that we keep innovating and finding new modalities for delivering on that goal for clients.”  
Hillary Budds, executive director, Instinet BlockCross

The Solution

BlockCross’s order blotter integration allows traders to tailor their interactions from their own front-ends. The graphical user interface (GUI) can be configured to trigger alerts, respond to natural opportunities, set auto-execution instructions, communicate interest to select counterparties, and identify opportunities to optimize block trades. BlockCross is integrated with Instinet’s algos, and features alerts and pop-ups, and real-time market data, streamlining clients’ workflows and minimizing the footprint on their desktops. BlockCross is designed to be accessible through most order and execution management systems (OMS/EMS) providers, Instinet’s algorithms, or Fix connections.

Secret Sauce 

BlockCross provides clients with a dashboard for managing their orders with a variety of conditional capabilities. Orders can be set to operate on an auto-ex basis and Instinet’s algo strategies can be activated to help manage their potential counterparties and venues. Conditional workflows allow clients to capture opportunistic crossing executions by leveraging conditional order types, as well as automated blotter scraping, and even control for certain counterparties. BlockCross users can post orders for conditional trading opportunities while they work their orders in the market, increasing control and optimizing their ability to seek unique or outsized liquidity. 

Recent Milestones 

At the end of 2021, Instinet announced the Canadian launch of BlockCross, enabling its clients to route a variety of conditional, block-size orders to Instinet’s Canadian alternative trading system, Instinet Canada Cross (ICX). This makes it possible for them to trade Canadian securities, in addition to US and European securities, via the functionality within BlockCross’ order-management interface, while also minimizing the risk of information leakage. 

Future Objectives 

Instinet is committed to further integrating and expanding BlockCross and its conditional order management/block trading capabilities to help clients execute their orders. It is currently in the process of rolling out BlockCross to more markets across the globe, including Hong Kong and Australia, and potentially to other Asia-Pacific markets in the future.


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