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Capital Markets

Exchanges: Plus adds to market share

Trading activity quadruples in November but widening spreads on small caps becomes a concern for investors.

Trading on Plus, an upstart UK exchange, more than quadrupled in November after the launch of a new trading system and an expansion in the number of stocks traded.

Trading activity on Plus leapt 220% in November on October to 206,442 bargains, worth some £1.6 billion ($3.24 billion). In terms of value, trading in November was up 300% compared with the month before and volumes were also up 250% compared with one year earlier.

Plus, which operates a quote-driven market on a new platform built by OMX, last October increased the number of stocks it trades to include all London-listed shares, including those of the FTSE100. The exchange also admitted five new members, bringing the total to 53.

The new exchange has already enjoyed considerable success in winning market share from the London Stock Exchange in small-cap and AIM-listed companies. Some 40% of the trading of the FTSE Fledgling index constituents takes place on Plus, which also has a market share of about a third in stocks dual listed on AIM and Plus. Since the addition of large caps, however, the heaviest traded stocks have mirrored those on the main market. In November, bank stocks, including Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland and Northern Rock were among the most heavily traded.

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