CODA Markets, Inc.

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CODA Markets, Inc.
Founded 2005
Headquarters Glenview, IL
Key People Donald Ross, III, Chief Executive Officer
Products Broker-dealer; alternative trading system (ATS)

CODA Markets, Inc. is a registered broker dealer and alternative trading system previously known as PDQ ATS, Inc. CODA is an acronym for Centralized On-Demand Auctions.[1]

Owned by PDQ Enterprises, Coda Markets runs CODA, an independent, agency-only ATS that incorporates block trade auctions on securities. These "on-demand" auctions, called CODA Block, are aimed at neutralizing the speed race that is prevalent in other stock trading venues by allowing a pause for participants in the auction. The idea behind this approach is to allow larger participants in the markets to trade in a more liquid marketplace in a more aggregated and fairer environment.[2]

CODA is regulated by FINRA.[3]


The company was founded by the late Christopher Keith, former chief technology officer at the New York Stock Exchange, (as PDQ ATS) in 2005 as an alternative equity trading venue that encourages liquidity providers to compete for order flow through its algorithm hosting facility.[4]

In 2016, Don Ross, who had been working as chief strategy officer, succeeded his father Keith Ross as company CEO. Keith Ross moved to the role of executive chairman.[5]

In early 2017, the firm launched CODA Block, which is built on the belief that there is potentially more trading volume in the market than is actually traded. CODA Block uses a 30-second price discovery mechanism that doesn't harm large firms looking for liquidity. CODA Block allows human traders as well as electronic traders to aggregate that liquidity and find a price for larger trades. Other markets and ATS platforms operate in continuous time, which means that it is often very difficult to aggregate participants together to trade.[6]

Key People[edit]

John Lothian News Interview, December 2016[edit]

PDQ's Don Ross: Why Speed Kills Equities Markets And How Auctions Can Save Them

The future of stock markets is becoming less about speed and more about trading securities in different environments, particularly auctions. Several exchanges have introduced new auction models aimed at slowing the market down in different ways for different participants, including PDQ Enterprises, which is rolling out its new on-demand auction process for stocks. CODA Markets (Centralized On-Demand Auctions), the wholly-owned broker-dealer entity which was previously named PDQ ATS, will launch the the block trading facility called CODA Block in the next several weeks.

John Lothian News Interview, May 2014[edit]

Speedy Delivery: Keith Ross on HFT, Reg NMS and Dark Pools
Today’s financial markets can be summed up in three words – global, fast, and complex. But as the market structure evolves, so must the regulatory structure that oversees it. John Lothian News has spoken with several industry experts to create this series on the evolution of financial market structure.

In Part 3, Keith Ross, CEO of PDQ ATS offers his thoughts on high frequency trading, Regulation NMS, maker-taker arrangements, and dark pools. He also expresses concern that the recent furor over HFT may lead to hasty decision making by legislative bodies rather than measured, thoughtful changes overseen by regulatory bodies better equipped to understand market structure and the consequences of change.