Ofex to introduce competitive pricing

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The Independent Online

Ofex, the lightly regulated junior stock market, is in talks with a number of stockbrokers including Winterflood Securities as part of a plan to introduce competitive pricing for the first time in its history. Jonathan Jenkins, the chief executive of Ofex, said he hoped to have the system up and running by the second quarter of next year.

Ofex was set up by JP Jenkins in 1995, since when the jobbing firm has been its only market-maker. However, responding to calls from investors for more choice, Ofex said in August that it would start to open up the market, taking on Teather & Greenwood as a market-maker in some stocks. T&G will start to offer prices in some shares from Monday though it will not compete with JP Jenkins.

Mr Jenkins, the son of the founder of JP Jenkins, said the initiative to open up Ofex would be rolled out further. "We are in talks with several firms including Winterflood and we had got to the stage of talking to third parties about systems so we thought we should make it public," Mr Jenkins said.

Market-makers set share prices and guarantee that a stock can always be bought or sold. Until now, Ofex shares have had to be traded through JP Jenkins, which was a source of resentment among small investors during the dot.com boom, when the market attracted interest as the home of numerous start-up ventures.

By introducing several market-makers, Ofex is likely to boost the amount of liquidity in its market, in a move investors hope will drive down prices in the stocks which are registered with it.

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