KCG Holdings' Mifid II expert departs

Virginie Saade

Virginie Saade, KCG’s European head of regulatory affairs and strategy – and one of FN’s 100 most influential women in finance for 2016 – will leave the broker on November 18.

Saade originally joined the market-maker Getco in 2010, which merged with retail and institutional broker Knight Capital in 2013 to form KCG. Prior to Getco, Saade had spent over nine years at the European exchange operator Euronext.

She also sat on the board of Bats Europe, the region’s largest stock exchange. KCG has a 14% stake in Bats Global Markets, Bats Europe’s parent.

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Phil Allison, the former UBS executive who runs KCG’s European business, told FN that Saade had played an “important role in developing the European strategy for the firm and we wish her much success as she embarks on her next chapter”.

Saade said she was “proud to have been a part of the growth of KCG’s European business and client franchise”, adding she was looking forward to her “next challenge during this truly unique time for the European markets”.

Saade, who will not be immediately replaced, was responsible for keeping the firm and its clients abreast of regulations and helped drive strategy, particularly in response to the EU’s revised Markets in Financial Instruments Directive.

The reforms, known as Mifid II and coming into force in 2018, will overhaul Europe’s trading markets and, with the rulemaking process now largely finalised, many firms are turning to implementation.

Mifid II is expected to benefit execution-only firms like KCG because it will force asset managers to unbundle payments for research and execution. The aim is to force investors to choose trading counterparts for their execution service alone rather than to pay for other services such as research or corporate access.

KCG is also one of the few brokers to operate a systematic internaliser, a regulatory framework to capture bilateral trading between banks and their clients that involves the use of a firm’s own capital. The SI regime is being strengthened under Mifid II, by forcing almost all share trades to take place on regulated trading venues, including SIs.

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