Aequitas files complaint about TMX Group to Competition Bureau over data pricing

TORONTO – Operators of upstart stock market Aequitas NEO Exchange have filed a complaint with the Competition Bureau, alleging that their rival, TMX Group, is using anti-competitive practices in relation to market data.

Aequitas alleges that TMX Group (TSX:X), which operates the Toronto Stock Exchange, is using its dominant market position to “maintain control over the pricing of market data in the Canadian capital markets.”

As a result, Canadian investors only get a partial view of what is going on in the markets, Aequitas alleges.

Aequitas, which launched last March, bills itself as a more fair alternative to the TSX and has backing from a number of financial industry heavyweights including Royal Bank (TSX:RY) and Barclays.

In a statement, TMX Group said it operates in accordance with all applicable laws.

“We charge competitively for market data, commensurate with the value of the products and services TMX provides to clients,” the company said in an email.

A spokesman confirmed that the Competition Bureau has received a complaint related to market data.

“When the bureau examines alleged anti-competitive behaviour, it conducts an examination of the available facts and evidence before reaching any conclusions about whether or not the Competition Act has been contravened,” Taylor Bildstein said in an email.

“Should the bureau find evidence of conduct contrary to the act, the bureau will take action, where appropriate.”

Also on Tuesday, Nasdaq Inc. (Nasdaq:NDAQ) announced plans to acquire alternative trading system Chi-X Canada, a move that will give the global stock market giant access to the Canadian market and pit it against the TSX.

“This is a significant acquisition for Nasdaq, as Canada’s GDP has grown more than 50 per cent in U.S. dollars, and 16 per cent inflation-adjusted, since 2005,” Tom Wittman, executive vice-president and global head of equities at Nasdaq, said in a statement.

“We look forward to working with the Chi-X Canada clients to develop new products and services to help them better navigate the global capital markets.”


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