Finnish Firm Pohjola's Technology Helps Navigate Secretive High Frequency Trading
Simo Puhakka, CEO at Pohjola Asset Management Execution Services, poses for a photograph in central London in August.Reuters

Finland's Pohjola Asset Management has designed technology to navigate the so-called dark pools where secretive high-frequency trading takes place.

Opaque, high-frequency trading in dark pools allow traders and brokers to privately buy and sell shares in large blocks without prices or identities being disclosed until after deals are done.

Pohjola's trading system offers the ability to control the way bets are routed to the controversial dark pools, Reuters reported.

The Pohjola system aims to minimise conflicting interests by putting fund managers, and not brokers, in charge of where to send trades.

The Pohjola router aims to provide a transparent approach that removes the possible bias of a broker, who could have financial inducements to use some venues. Pohjola and its clients make changes based on a venue's performance.

Pohjola's 20 or so clients, include Barings Asset Management, Swedbank Robur and IPM.

"For many years, investment banks and other electronic brokers have provided electronic order-routing mechanisms ... But once an order goes behind a firewall it's very difficult to maintain total control over it," Adam Conn, head of trading at Barings Asset Management, a Pohjola client, told Reuters.

"There is a growing empowerment within the buy side (investors) and that's a healthy development," Conn added.

"You can't rely on or trust solely what your broker delivers," Pohjola head trader Simo Puhakka told the news agency.

"We realised we should create a better solution, a better smart order router."

Dark pools and high-frequency trading came to public attention with the publication of Flash Boys, an explosive non-fiction book by Michael Lewis in which he claims the markets are being rigged by those with the best technology.