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Free access to Tradepoint system

The future of Tradepoint, the electronic rival to the London Stock Exchange, looks significantly more assured after Royalblue, the UK's leading trading software provider, said yesterday it would offer free access to Tradepoint's order-driven trading system along with the London Stock Exchange's system.

The agreement means traders will be able to access both the Tradepoint and London exchanges from the same dealing screen for no extra charge. It should enable Tradepoint to compete more effectively when the London exchange switches from its traditional market-making system to the electronic order-driven format on 20 October. Shares in struggling AIM-quoted Tradepoint, which was rescued from the brink of administration in July by an emergency cash injection from venture capitalists, jumped 12.4 per cent to 136.5p yesterday.

John Hamer, chief executive of Royalblue, said growing customer demand for Tradepoint had prompted it to develop an interface linking Tradepoint into its widely used software package, Fidessa. "This gives Tradepoint more shelf space and encourages competition, and should mean extra volume for us," said Mr Hamer.

Royalblue will take a fee from Tradepoint on each transaction. Although Tradepoint offers advantages over the London order-driven system, principally that it is anonymous and potentially cheaper, at present traders have to use a separate workstation to access Tradepoint.

The deal with Royalblue should make access easier and give Tradepoint wider exposure.