Canadian alternative trading system Omega has reported an increase in its average daily volume to 3,476,495 trades in July 2010, from 508,200 in July 2009.
New president and chef compliance officer Mike Bignell says the increase in volume traded has been driven by a recent matching engine upgrade and regulatory changes in November last year.
Bignell, who joined Omega on 5 August, was formerly senior vice president and chief compliance officer for Fidelity Clearing Canada, where he was responsible for overseeing the development of the firm's operational and compliance policies and procedures and supervising day-to-day activities.
Commenting on Omega’s recent growth, Bignell said, “The trading venue's current profitability and aggressive growth combined with market factors such as [rival ATS] Alpha no longer offering equity for volume, make this a compelling challenge for me. I am committed to capitalising on the current upward trending success of the ATS until it eclipses the competition.”
In terms of market share, Omega ATS is still relatively small, says Eric Stoop, chairman of Omega ATS, “We're around 1% of the market this year,” he explained. “We've seen our volume rise, and volumes are rising in Canada in general.”
Omega ATS is designed to maximise internal order processing speed. Its recent upgrade to a Canadian-made matching engine, ThymeX, is claimed by Omega ATS to make the platform one of the lowest latency trading venues in Canada.
Stoop said, “We're focused on innovation and being on the cutting edge of technology. Getting our trading engine up and running in May was a major step. The execution we offer to our clients is the fastest on the Street.”
Canada has recently seen some changes to regulatory policy for ATSs, including best price execution obligations. In November 2009, changes came about which gave Canadian regulator Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) more teeth to enforce best execution rules.
This effectively forced members of IIROC to either subscribe to all ATSs or make arrangements to ensure access in the event that a trade could be executed on a marketplace at a better price than the market they were subscribers to.
Stoop emphasised the importance of the new rules, “Canadian dealers were compelled to join Canadian marketplaces. Unlike the US, there's only a handful of ATSs here – Chi-X, Alpha, Pure, and ourselves.”