Exchange rival to float on AIM

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The Independent Online
JOHN EISENHAMMER

Financial Editor

Tradepoint, the fledgling rival to the Stock Exchange, is to list its shares on the Alternative Investment Market in April. Michael Waller-Bridge, chairman, said Tradepoint aims to raise some pounds 8.5m through a placing by broker Williams de Broe to fund the exchange's next stage of development.

"We are a UK company, a substantial margin of shareholders are UK-based, and we feel it is an appropriate time to migrate towards our principal market," he said.

Tradepoint's launch last autumn of an electronic trading system, which automatically matches buy and sell orders, coincided with a heated debate among the London Stock Exchange's members over a proposed radical reform of trading.

The Exchange has been consulting on whether members wish to switch to a Tradepoint-style order-driven system. Stock Exchange dealing in London is traditionally dominated by large securities firms which use their own capital to make markets in shares, posting continuous buy and sell prices.

Tradepoint's shares are currently only traded in Vancouver, Canada, where they have been listed since 1992. In January, Tradepoint announced a deal with Bloomberg, the US financial news service, which will allow users of Bloomberg screens worldwide to trade directly with Tradepoint in London.

Mr Waller-Bridge said that business had picked up, with the number of trades growing from 125 in October to almost 400 in February. This is a tiny fraction of the overall business in the UK stock market, but Tradepoint claims to need a little over 2 per cent of the Stock Exchange's volume to break even.

"We are getting institutional size orders now, even if it's still modest and early days, and we have two-way order quotes on about 40 of the FT- SE 100 stocks," he said.

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