iShares takes the plunge with plans to become the first ETF firm to list a fund on the BATS exchange.
BATS Global Markets, the third-largest U.S. stock exchange, said today iShares will become the first exchange-traded fund sponsor to use BATS as a primary listing venue, beginning on Jan. 24 with the launch of a single-country ETF focused on Norway.
The iShares MSCI Norway Capped Investable Market Index Fund (BATS: ENOR) will be the first of eight single-country ETFs iShares will list with Kansas City, Mo.-based BATS, which announced last year it was entering the primary listing business. The other seven iShares ETFs will begin trading soon after Jan. 24, BATS said in a press release.
Breaking into a primary-listings market dominated by the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq is a tall order. But getting its first listings from ETF giant iShares appears to be a good start. Industry sources said it’s quite likely that BATS was able to entice iShares with lower listing fees, in part because it has less overhead than either the NYSE or Nasdaq.
The eight funds listing on BATS, including the Norway fund, include:
- iShares MSCI Norway Capped Investable Market Index Fund (BATS: ENOR)
- iShares MSCI Australia Small Cap Index Fund (BATS: EWAS)
- iShares MSCI Canada Small Cap Index Fund (BATS: EWCS)
- iShares MSCI Finland Capped Investable Market Index Fund (BATS: EFNL)
- iShares MSCI Germany Small Cap Index Fund (BATS: EWGS)
- iShares MSCI India Index Fund (BATS: INDA)
- iShares MSCI India Small Cap Index Fund (BATS: SMIN)
- iShares MSCI United Kingdom Small Cap Index Fund (BATS: EWUS)
Shortly after announcing its intention to become a primary listing venue, BATS filed with regulators at the Securities and Exchange Commission to establish a program designed to reward market-makers with financial incentives for maintaining order flow in stocks and ETFs.
The BATS Competitive Liquidity Provider Program, which is awaiting approval from the SEC, is designed to keep market-makers in the center of trading traffic, even when markets turn volatile.
Other exchanges have such programs in place, and it wasn’t immediately clear if the planned BATS program played into iShares’ decision.
BATS is attempting to distinguish itself from its competitors by focusing on taking special care of ETF providers, Joe Ratterman, chairman and chief executive officer of BATS, said in the press release.
“iShares’ decision to list on BATS underscores the commitment that we are placing on ensuring our market is issuer-focused and concentrates on market quality,” Ratterman said.
A BATS spokeswoman declined to elaborate, saying the company is in a regulatory “quiet period” related to its pending initial public offering. The company plans to list its own shares on its own exchange under the symbol “BATS.”