Nasdaq Tests New Jersey Data Center Exit in Fight Against Trading Tax

The proposed taxes would generate billions of dollars from high-speed trading in the state.

Bloomberg

September 18, 2020

2 Min Read
A view outside Nasdaq in Times Square during the Coronavirus pandemic on March 31, 2020 in New York City.
A view outside Nasdaq in Times Square during the Coronavirus pandemic on March 31, 2020 in New York City.Noam Galai/Getty Images

Sonali Basak and Eliana Perez (Bloomberg) -- Nasdaq Inc. will temporarily move some operations to Chicago, escalating a dispute with New Jersey over proposed taxes that would generate billions of dollars from high-speed trading at the stock exchange and its rival firms.

Nasdaq’s PSX exchange will move to Chicago the week of Oct. 26, according to a memo to traders to be released on Thursday. The move “will allow firms to gain additional confidence that they can react quickly in the event that Nasdaq decides to move the operation of all its market centers to its Chicago data center,” the company said.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is considering a tax on stocks, options, futures and swaps trading that would go into effect for the 2022 budget year and could drum up $10 billion for the state. Wall Street giants, including the New York Stock Exchange, Citadel Securities and Virtu Financial Inc., have threatened to move operations from New Jersey if the tax is enacted.

Nasdaq is considering the move but wants it to be made in concert with other parts of the market such as broker-dealers, Tal Cohen, executive vice president for North American marketing, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television.

“Collectively, we are going to take action,” he said. “We do empathize with the situation New Jersey and other states are in, but at the end of the day we need to protect investors.” He declined to say how much of Nasdaq’s market is represented in the move to Chicago. Previous attempts at financial-transaction taxes have failed, he said.

Related:The Pandemic Gives Nasdaq’s Move to the Cloud a New Sense of Urgency

The NYSE plans to test a full exit from New Jersey during the week of Sept. 28 by operating its Chicago equity exchange from a secondary data center. Nasdaq previously announced a one-day test on Sept. 26, and its latest action builds on that plan.

“This test will be held in coordination with other market centers and simulate a normal trading day,” Nasdaq said in the memo.

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