NEW YORK, May 16 (Reuters) - The operator of the New York Stock Exchange was given permission by regulators on Tuesday to implement a so-called speed bump on one of its exchanges, allowing it to go head-to-head with upstart rival the Investors' Exchange.
NYSE Group, which is owned by Intercontinental Exchange Inc (ICE), plans to add a delay of a fraction of a second for incoming and outgoing orders on its NYSE MKT exchange, which it is renaming NYSE American.
NYSE has said NYSE American will have a similar model as IEX Group's Investors' Exchange, including a 350-microsecond delay, except it will have electronic market makers with obligations to ease the trading of NYSE American-listed stocks.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission approved NYSE's speed bump in a regulatory filing on Tuesday, making it the second U.S. exchange with an artificial delay.
IEX, which pioneered the device, was thrust into the spotlight before it even had an exchange license when author Michael Lewis featured the upstart in his March 2014 book, "Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt," which followed the group as it built what it saw as a fairer, simplier market.
The book ignited a fierce debate on both Wall Street and Main Street after Lewis said the market was rigged by profit-hungry exchanges in favor of high-frequency trading firms. The speed bump was one of the measures IEX said it took to level the playing field for all market participants.
NYSE vehemently opposed IEX's exchange application, saying the model was bad for the market, but later said it planned to copy aspects of the newest U.S. exchange in order to better compete.
IEX has a market share of 2.33 percent of U.S. stock trading, while NYSE MKT has a share of 0.19 percent so far this month, according to data from exchange operator Bats, which is owned by CBOE Holdings Inc. The New York Stock Exchange has a 12.69 percent share and NYSE Arca has a further 9.30 percent, making NYSE the largest U.S. exchange operator.
NYSE American is a throwback to the American Stock Exchange, the exchange's name before it was bought by NYSE in 2008. The exchange lists around 370 small companies.
This year IEX plans to start a listings business to compete against NYSE and Nasdaq Inc.
Reporting by John McCrank; Editing by Lisa Shumaker