BlackRock throws weight behind new NYSE and Nasdaq challenger MEMX

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Members Exchange on Tuesday said BlackRock Inc (N:BLK), the world’s biggest asset manager, was among its latest financial and strategic backers as the new bourse gears up to take on the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq Inc (O:NDAQ) with a third-quarter launch.

MEMX, which was founded by some of the biggest customers of Intercontinental Exchange Inc’s (N:ICE) NYSE and Nasdaq, said Wells Fargo (N:WFC), Flow Traders, Manikay Partners and Williams (NYSE:WMB) Trading, also took part in its recent $65 million financing round.

BlackRock will also take a seat on the board of directors of the new stock exchange, which has raised $135 million since it was founded in January 2019 due to discontent among financial firms over what they saw as excessive exchange fees for trading and related services such as market data.

MEMX said it will offer substantially lower fees than the incumbent exchanges; fewer, less complex order types; and a basic market data feed.

“It’s very meaningful, BlackRock being such a large asset manager, being able to represent their investors and really represent the buy-side,” MEMX Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Kellner said in an interview. “It really rounds out our boardroom.”

Other firms with board representation include MEMX founders Bank of America (N:BAC), Morgan Stanley (N:MS), Virtu Financial (O:VIRT), Citadel Securities, Charles Schwab Corp (N:SCHW), E*Trade Financial Corp (O:ETFC), Fidelity, and TD Ameritrade (O:AMTD).

Recently announced backers Goldman Sachs Group Inc (N:GS), JPMorgan Chase and Co (N:JPM) and Jane Street Capital are also board members, while UBS Group AG (S:UBSG) and Wells Fargo have observer status.

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