Australian dark-pool operators may need to obtain market licences under rules being considered by the government, the financial services ministry said in a statement. Dark pools, private trading venues that don’t display prices or the identity of the parties, currently operate without licences, unlike the country’s public stock exchanges, ASX Ltd. and Chi-X Australia Pty. Rules being considered may also allow the Australian Securities and Investment Commission to regulate overseas firms that use some high-frequency trading strategies to trade in the market, the ministry said. The proposed changes come after the government announced November 20 that all trading algorithms must have “kill switches” by June 2014 to immediately disable them if they malfunction. Electronic trading has come under scrutiny after it was blamed for causing the Dow Jones Industrial Average to briefly lose almost 1,000 points in less than 20 minutes on May 6, 2010. “Proper market regulation, including for dark pools, is critical to protecting mum and dad investors,” Bill Shorten, minister for financial services and superannuation, said in the statement. “Australia’s licence regime should be able to accommodate these new market developments such as dark pools, and should be flexible enough to properly regulate any additional market types that may emerge in the future.” No decision has been made about what licensing approach should be taken, the statement said. The regulator will accept submissions for discussion until Feb. 1, it said. The securities regulator has set up two taskforces to examine the role of dark pools and high-frequency trading in Australia’s equity market, according to the statement.