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Canada competition watchdog finds TMX Group did not violate competition rules

| TORONTO

TORONTO Nov 21 Canada's competition watchdog concluded on Monday that the country's largest stock exchange operator, TMX Group Ltd, did not violate anti-competitive rules despite its refusal to share private market data with a rival.

The statement followed an investigation prompted by a December 2015 complaint by Aequitas Innovations Inc, which operates the newly minted Neo Exchange, that contracts between TMX and investment dealers stymied its plans to offer a cheaper data pool sourced directly from the dealers.

The Competition Bureau, an independent law enforcement agency, said it found evidence that TMX refused to share the data but that the conduct likely did not violate competition rules.

TMX welcomed the news and said in a statement it "remains firmly committed to conducting business with integrity in full compliance with the Competition Act and in keeping with our public interest mandate."

TMX runs the Toronto Stock Exchange, the TSX Venture for junior issuers and the Montreal Exchange for derivatives, among other businesses.

Aequitas attributed the decision to not enough investment dealers demonstrating support for its plan. It said it would now ask an umbrella group of Canadian securities regulators to mandate access to consolidated market data for all investors.

In Canada, each trading platform can set its own fees for trading data, unlike the United States, where markets pool such data and brokers and other market players pay a fee for the consolidated pool. The different U.S. venues then split the fees based on their market share of trading volumes. (Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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