Competition Bureau concludes investigation into market data complaint

TORONTO – The Competition Bureau has concluded that the TMX Group was not abusing its dominant market position regarding an investigation relating to market data.

The bureau began probing the issue late last year after receiving a complaint from Aequitas Innovations Inc., the operators of the upstart stock market Aequitas NEO Exchange.

The company had alleged that TMX Group (TSX:X), which operates the Toronto Stock Exchange, has been 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, it had claimed.

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

The company said it believes the bureau’s decision was reached because not enough investment dealers demonstrated support for a competitive solution that would give retail investors and investment advisers access to consolidated market data at a reasonable price.

“We will not speculate why dealers would not seek a lower cost solution, as we understand they face numerous other priorities,” Jos Schmitt, president and CEO of Aequitas NEO Exchange, said in a statement.

“It is, however, a sad day for Canadian capital markets — and the country as a whole — when no one is ready to put the best interests of the little guy first.”

The TMX Group said it co-operated fully during the investigation and remains firmly committed to conducting business with integrity in full compliance with the Competition Act.

The Competition Bureau said the file against the TMX Group is now closed.

Follow @alexposadzki on Twitter.