Omega ATS to offer Canadian fixed income trading

*To offer trades in gov’t bonds, convertible debentures

*Provides more access for retail investors

By Jennifer Kwan

TORONTO, Dec 15 (BestGrowthStock) – Canadian alternative stock
trading system Omega ATS said on Wednesday it will trade
fixed-income products on its electronic platform to provide
more access to a cloudy market.

Omega, among the smallest of Canada’s alternative trading
systems, said it will be the first marketplace to provide “open
access” to trade the most liquid fixed-income securities in the
country.

The venue will start with trade in three Government of
Canada bonds, but it hopes to expand to include provincial and
corporate offerings soon and also offer trade in some listed
convertible debentures.

The service is available to everyone, but the main target
will be retail investors who currently buy or sell fixed-income
assets through brokers.

“What this is going to do for retail investors is it’s
going to give them access and they’re going to be able to see
quotes. We think it will catch on,” said Omega ATS President
Mike Bignell.

Fixed income trade also occurs on electronic platforms such
as CanDeal, aimed largely at institutional investors in Canada,
although Bignell said this can be more costly to access.

Omega said fixed income products have become increasingly
important to investors as bonds have gained a more prominent
role after recent turmoil in worldwide equity markets.

But Bignell said fixed income trades are not generally
subject to the same transparency and best execution rules as
stocks, making it hard for investors to ensure they are getting
the best available price and paying brokers a fair commission.

“We believe it’s going to bring spreads in a little tighter
because there’s going to be more access to it,” he said.

“Activity breeds activity. If there’s enough flow,
certainly the institutions will follow suit and begin trading
with us as well.”

Bignell hopes the offering will help the ATS double its
volume over the next year. In November, Omega held about 0.6
percent of market share, according to Investment Industry
Regulatory Organization of Canada.

Omega’s rivals include TMX Group Inc (X.TO: ), which runs the
Toronto Stock Exchange and the junior TSX Venture Exchange, and
Alpha Group, Canada’s biggest ATS, which is owned in part by
the dealer units of the country’s biggest banks.
(Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Janet Guttsman)

Omega ATS to offer Canadian fixed income trading