We study the effect(s) of volatility on the share of trading in dark pools by exploiting the exogenous shock of the Covid-19 pandemic on financial markets and regulatory restrictions on dark trading. We find that high levels of volatility in lit exchanges is linked to an economically significant loss of market share by dark pools to lit exchanges. In line with the theory, the loss appears to be driven by informed traders’ migration from lit to dark markets during high volatility periods. The market quality implications of the trading dynamics are mixed: while it tempers liquidity decline in the lit market, it exacerbates the loss of informational efficiency.

The British Accounting Review
Available online 22 December 2022, 101171