March 28, 2016 / 8:53 PM / in 2 years

UPDATE 1-Nasdaq taps ex-Chi-X Global CEO to run North American equities

(Adds details on Nasdaq’s Canadian business, quote from executive interview)

By John McCrank

NEW YORK, March 28 (Reuters) - Transatlantic exchange operator Nasdaq Inc said on Monday it appointed Tal Cohen, the former head of Chi-X Global, as head of its North American equities business.

Nasdaq bought the Canadian operations of stock market operator Chi-X Global last month for an undisclosed amount from Nomura Holdings Inc and other banks. J.C. Flowers & Co said in January it agreed to buy Chi-X Global’s Australian and Japanese stock trading platforms.

Cohen, who was a managing director at Instinet LLC before becoming chief executive of Chi-X Global, will report to Tom Wittman, Nasdaq’s global head of equities, starting April 12.

Nasdaq also said it would rename the Chi-X Canada stock trading platforms, which compete with the TMX Group’s Toronto Stock Exchange, Nasdaq CX and Nasdaq CX2.

CX and CX2 operate as alternative trading systems, which are more lightly regulated than exchanges, but Nasdaq plans to seek regulatory approval to turn them into full-blown stock exchanges once it gets further along with a technology refresh of the platforms, Wittman said in an interview.

Exchange licenses would allow Nasdaq to start a listing business in Canada and the company would likely start by listing Canadian exchange-traded funds, Wittman said.

There is also a strong possibility Nasdaq will start an options business in Canada next year, he added.

“A lot of my new customers up there would like to sit down with me and talk about launching an options business in Canada,” he said.

Walt Smith, who currently leads Nasdaq’s North American equities business, will transition to a new role as head of Nasdaq’s Global Access Services business, which includes exchange connectivity and post-trade services.

Dan Kessous, former head of Chi-X Canada, will head up Nasdaq’s Canadian equities business.

Nasdaq runs the No. 3 U.S. stock exchange by volume. The New York-based company also agreed this month to buy U.S. options exchange operator International Securities Exchange from Deutsche Boerse for $1.1 billion, which would make it the largest U.S. options exchange operator once the deal closes. (Reporting by John McCrank; Editing by David Gregorio and Meredith Mazzilli)

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