The market making arms of UBS and Citigroup suffered combined losses of approximately $50 million (£31.8 million) during Facebook’s initial public offering on NASDAQ’s stock market, according to reports in the Wall Street Journal.
This raises the financial losses amongst brokers above $100 million (£63.7 million), following larger reported losses this week from other market making firms, including Citadel and Knight Capital Group.
Earlier this month Facebook’s much anticipated IPO was riddled with technical problems, which led to a delay of 30 minutes. The problem stemmed from NASDAQ’s IPO Cross, a pre-IPO auction process that exchange put in place in 2006 that allows traders to place orders and agree on an IPO price before the stock is officially launched, which couldn’t handle the trading demand.
Rik Turner, senior financial services technology analyst at Ovum spoke said that companies were not only making losses from losing out on half an hour of trading, but because they were not receiving up-to-date information.
“The losses by these companies is estimated to be at approximately $100 million to $150 million, but I’d say these estimates are conservative. My suspicion is that they may go higher,” said Ferguson.
He added: “There was also apparently a problem whereby the turnaround time of processing orders expanded from three milliseconds to five milliseconds. Because of those two milliseconds that were not accounted for or factored into the process, these firms were not getting up-to-date information about what their position was. They were effectively trading in the dark.”
“Also, why didn’t NASDAQ simply halt trading altogether in Facebook until the mess was sorted out? A lot of people are asking this question and I think it’s a legitimate one.”
NASDAQ has said that it can expect to pay out $13 million (£8.2 million) to offset the damage. Ferguson believes this amount to be too small.
“It would seem that NASDAQ has set aside too little, $13 million is way below what they need to do,” he said.
“Over $100 million in compensation would be a big hole in the balance sheet, but if it doesn’t move to pay back the losses to the level these companies have made then you can expect it to go to court."