(Adds details on effects of policy, specific fee reductions)
SAO PAULO, Jan 2 (Reuters) - Brazilian financial exchange operator B3 said on Thursday it is reducing and simplifying fees investors pay to trade stocks and over-the-counter products, moves intended to increase efficiency, activity and competition.
The biggest effects will be felt by small retail investors, B3 said in statement, adding that the measures could reduce B3 clients' overall annual fees by around 250 million ($62.5 million) based on trading volumes of the last 12 months.
Shares in B3 jumped on news of the new fee structure and were up 4.7% in late morning trading, making them the Bovespa's top gainer.
The changes include reducing investors' account maintenance fee of about 110 reais a year currently and reducing fees for individuals to trade securities by about 10%. In addition, fees will fall the more investors trade, and fees for lending securities will be reduced.
According to B3, the changes are expected to be implemented throughout the year, with the hope that it will help broaden the base of retail investors in Brazil.
B3 also said that customers who have a custody balance of up to 20,000 reais in the same brokerage will be exempt from other account maintenance fees.
"This set of measures will affect about 65% of individual investor base that currently has a balance in B3 equities," it said in the statement.
The number of active accounts at B3 jumped to 1.5 million investors in October last year from 643,000 in January 2018. According to B3, about one third of these accounts have up to 5,000 reais invested in equity securities.
$1 = 4.01 reais Reporting by Alberto Alerigi and Jamie McGeever; Editing by Alex Richardson and Will Dunham