Mirae Asset Securities has acquired market maker GHCO for $40m as the group continues to expand its global ETF business.

The deal, which completed on 6 December, is the first purchase made by the securities arms of Mirae Asset Global Investments outside of the Asian market and is the firm’s first entry into Europe.

Speaking to ETF Stream, Daniel Izzo, CEO of GHCO, said the deal will give his firm the scale to compete directly with the two largest market makers in Europe, Jane Street and Flow Traders.

“The barriers to entry are exceedingly high in Europe and it takes scale to make a legitimate competitive effort. That is what this transaction gives us; the capability, scope and scale to get to the next level and pose as a legitimate competitor.”

GHCO, launched in 2005, will be incorporated as a subsidiary of Mirae Asset Securities in the first half of 2023, subject to regulatory approval.

Izzo (pictured), who has long been a proponent of shifting ETF trading volumes away from request for quote platforms and onto exchanges, will remain as CEO following the acquisition.

Meanwhile, GHCO’s head of trading and managing partner Stefan Kaba-Ferreiro is leaving to establish his own crypto business.

In a LinkedIn post, Kaba-Ferreiro wrote: “I will be completing my handover in London over the next couple of months and taking some time to recharge as the last few years in markets have been relentless.

“My partner and friend Dan is continuing on as CEO with new investors…as well as the rest of the excellent team.”

In August, Mirae Asset Securities took its first steps in the European market with the appointment of former Tradeweb director of ETF sales Alex Gladkow.

Gladkow joined the business as an “ETF ambassador” in Europe, responsible for enhancing the strategic direction of the firm as a trusted partner in the European ETF space.

The latest acquisition is a sign the group is looking to expand its ETF capabilities beyond asset management.

Mirae is currently represented in the European ETF market by Global X, which it acquired in 2018, with the firm embarking on a rapid expansion of its European ETF range this year.

Izzo added GHCO will continue to operate as an independent firm to avoid “conflicts of interest” with other ETF issuers.

In June, Mirae Asset Global Investments and Global X acquired ETF Securities Australia, which housed roughly A$4.7bn assets under management (AUM) at the time of purchase.

The firm currently runs ETFs in the US, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Europe, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea and Vietnam.

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