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What is a Super Montage?

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  • Written By: John Lister
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 21 July 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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SuperMontage is the computerized trading system used by NASDAQ. It is capable of processing more than 5,000 transactions per second. The system received regulatory approval in 2001 and has been used since 2002.

NASDAQ was originally known as the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations. It eventually became the largest stock exchange in the world, based on the number of transactions. SuperMontage was created to offer traders a more informative and useful service, persuading them to use NASDAQ ahead of other markets.

One of the main features of SuperMontage is that it does not merely show the best currently available price for somebody looking to buy or sell a particular security, it also shows the interest available five levels deep. That would mean, for example, that if the best price somebody was willing to sell a particular stock for was $1 (US), the system would show how many people were offering to sell for $1, 99 cents, 98 cents, 97 cents and 96 cents.

This can be useful for traders because it compensates for situations where the best price is being offered by somebody who is particularly desperate to buy or sell a security. In such a situation, the second best offer may be very different to this. This added information gives traders more insight into what they can realistically expect from making a trade, given that somebody else may snap up the best offer before they can take advantage.

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In similar fashion, traders can use SuperMontage to list offers at multiple prices. For example, with less sophisticated systems, a trader with 100 shares of a company to sell could only list one price, say $10. Using SuperMontage, they can make an offer to sell all 100 shares at $10, but also say they would be willing to sell up to 50 shares at $10 and the rest at $9. The combination of this ability and the ability of those considering offers to see more detail can increase the likelihood of traders finding deals at mutually acceptable prices.

Another feature of SuperMontage, added in 2003, is fully anonymous trading. This allows a trader or broker to place an order without other traders being aware of their identity. The order remains anonymous during the clearance and settlement process. This anonymity does not override legal restraints and NASDAQ may still be required to hand over details in the event of an investigation into unlawful trading.

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