NYSE Euronext , the transatlantic exchange group, plans to launch a European trading platform early next year designed to boost volumes from small investors by offering them better prices, according to sources close to the firm.
NYSE Euronext hopes to receive the necessary regulatory approval to launch the platform in a matter of days, two sources said, paving the way for a January 2013 launch.
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The exchange hopes to boost trading from retail clients by offering these individual investors a new type of service, based on Euronext brokers acting as liquidity providers and quoting better prices to retail investors.
The sources said the brokers are keen to offer better prices to their retail investor clients in line with their regulatory obligation to achieve "best execution" - namely trading at the best price for clients.
NYSE Euronext declined to comment.
Retail investors, typically wealthy individuals trading on their account through specialist retail brokers, account for less than one tenth of Euronext trading volumes, making retail a relatively small market segment for the exchange.
But NYSE Euronext hopes the new service will partly reverse a gradual slowdown in trading across many of its main markets in recent months as investors have pulled back from Europe, mindful of the ongoing euro zone debt crisis.
"We do not envision either outperformance or underperformance in the share price until market sentiment solidifies ... and volumes across NYSE Euronext's markets begin to show a sustainable trend," said Peter Lenardos, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets.
NYSE Euronext, like rivals the London Stock Exchange , Deutsche Boerse and Nasdaq OMX , is keen to tap a wide array of liquidity sources to sustain profits in what has been a tough year for European exchanges. (Editing by Mark Potter)