Ontario regulator seeks to shut down two Omega Securities trading venues

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s biggest securities regulator is seeking a suspension of trading in two alternative trading venues run by Omega Securities Inc for failure to comply with market regulations, it said in an order dated Nov. 13 and released late on Tuesday.

Staff at the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) will bring their case against Omega, which runs the Omega and Lynx alternative trading systems, to an OSC hearing on Friday.

The regulator, which has a dual role of both prosecuting and judging possible violations of securities laws, could agree with its staff’s recommendation to halt Omega’s operations, adjourn a decision to a later date, or reject the accusations.

Omega said late on Tuesday that it would “vigorously oppose” the proposed order and that its trading venues operate within the bounds of the law. It added that it has been cooperating with a year-long OSC investigation into how its systems capture and disseminate details about the trades they enable.

In its complaint, OSC staff said that Omega had corrected inaccurate identification of brokers participating in mid-point peg transactions but was still not in compliance with rules around the time-stamping of trades, had content discrepancies between various data feeds, and was disseminating data to some brokers prior to it being shared more broadly.

Omega counts more than 60 dealers among its customers, including the brokerage arms of the country’s largest banks as well as Goldman Sachs Canada Inc, Morgan Stanley Canada Ltd, Questrade Inc, UBS Securities Canada Inc, and Barclays Capital Canada Inc, according to a list on Omega’s website.

Its venues account for roughly 5 percent of the value of all equity trading in Canada, according to data from the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada.

Reporting by Alastair Sharp and Nichola Saminather in Toronto; Editing by Susan Thomas and Diane Craft