Moscow Trading
A trader concentrates on his screens on the Troika Dialog trading floor in Moscow. Reuters

Russian retail broker BCS wants to launch a “dark pool” trading platform in Russia, so that investors can trade anonymously outside of traditional exchanges, according to the Wall Street Journal’s MoneyBeat.

A “dark pool” system allows investors to trade outside of a public exchange, meaning the prices, the number of stocks exchanged and the parties involved all remain private. Trade data is published after the transactions are done, however.

According to MoneyBeat, BCS wants to create the platform to help Western investors access Russian markets. Bevan told IBTimes in an email that the plans are still at an early stage, with precise plans and timescales yet to be worked out. He said a launching dark pool would help BCS become a leading international intermediary for investor access to Russian equity, a “core part” of BCS’ strategy.

“It provides a means for us to provide cheaper execution to our clients and leverage our existing retail flow in Russia,” Bevan wrote.

According to MoneyBeat, dark pools account for about 15 percent of daily U.S. equity trading and about 5 percent of trading in Western European equities.

The announcement comes as U.S. regulators seek more information on dark pool trading, the Wall Street Journal reports. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA, an industry regulator of financial services, sent 15 letters to dark pool operators asking for how they operate, what they tell clients and how they police trades.

Three major U.S. operators of dark pools include Barclays PLC (LON:BARC), Credit Suisse Group AG (NYSE:CS) and Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS) Concern about dark pools at FINRA isn’t new. In an October 2009 speech, FINRA CEO Rick Ketchum said it isn’t always clear which trades come from dark pools, even to FINRA, which regulates them.

However, equity trading specialist Keith Ross played down concerns about dark pools in an explanatory article on CNBC, outlining how they work and why their label may be the scariest thing about them. Bevan shrugged off concerns that dark pool are lightly regulated, saying whether they are properly scrutinized depends on jurisdiction-specific structures. “What is clear is that they can and do reduce the costs of trading for participants,” said Bevan.