Block trading basics

Published on Jun 29, 2022Updated on Apr 4, 20242 min read
What is block trading?

A block trade is a large, privately negotiated securities transaction. They are common among institutional investors, hedge funds and high-net-worth individuals deploying significant capital. When executing large orders on exchanges, traders risk impacting the market and causing price slippage. Alternatively, via private negotiations, they can predetermine a settlement price by requesting-for-quote from a market maker.

What is an RFQ?

A request for quote, or RFQ, is an electronic notification sent to market makers expressing their intention to trade a specific instrument or strategy. Market makers will be alerted once an RFQ has been sent and will be prompted to quote a bid and ask for the requested strategy.

What is the minimum size of a block trade?

The minimum notional size for a block trade is US$50,000 or equivalent.

Why is the combo price on the RFQ builder different from the price the maker expects me to pay?

The combo price as displayed on the builder is based on the mid-point of the latest bids and asks on the order book. However, block trading occurs off of the order book as a privately negotiated transaction between a Taker and a Maker. Therefore, the quote that the Maker provides to you does not necessarily need to match the order book price.