April 12, 2011 / 9:56 PM / in 7 years

Alpha "dark pool" does not provide fair access-TMX

* Alpha dismisses TMX concerns

* Alpha’s IntraSpread approved last Friday

* TMX Select made available for client testing last Friday

By Solarina Ho

TORONTO, April 12 (Reuters) - Alpha Group’s new IntraSpread trading facility does not provide full and fair access for all market participants, TMX Group (X.TO) said in a statement on Tuesday.

The operator of the Toronto Stock Exchange reiterated its earlier position against Alpha’s new “dark pool”, following the announcement last Friday that regulators have approved the system, which will be available for trading before the summer.

“The facility is contrary to many of the principles that form the foundation of Canada’s capital markets, including full and fair access for all market participants, visible price discovery and meaningful price improvement for internalized orders,” TMX said in a statement.

    Alpha Chief Executive Jos Schmitt dismissed the concerns, attributing the comments as part of the increased competition and worries over how exchange markets have evolved in Canada.

    IntraSpread is designed to guarantee investors the best trading price and at fees that will be a fraction of the those currently charged elsewhere in the Canadian marketplace, said Schmitt.

    Dark pools are mostly anonymous, off-exchange stock trading venues where traders can match orders while concealing price and volume. It can offer investors less expensive alternatives for buying and selling shares.

    Alpha Group, founded by Canada’s biggest banks and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, is an alternative trading system that has become the TSX’s biggest domestic competitor since its launch in 2007.

    TMX announced its own alternative trading system called TMX Select last fall and the system was made available for client testing on Friday.

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