In Canada: Lehman Plans Hiring, Trading Competition Heats Up

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Lehman Brothers has hired former Harris Nesbitt executive Geoff Belsher as the bank expands its reach in Canada. A spokeswoman confirmed Belsher's appointment, but did not comment on the extent to which Lehman is expanding its operations in the country.

According to a report in the Financial Post, Belsher will be based in Toronto and will hire about 12 bankers for that office. He previously held senior positions at Harris Nesbitt, the U.S. investment and corporate banking arm of Canada's BMO Financial Group, the Bank of Montreal, and Chicago-based law firm Blake Cassells and Graydon.

Separately, TSX Group, the parent of the Toronto Stock Exchange, and Goldman Sachs both announced new trading technology initiatives that highlight heightened competition in the increasingly popular Canadian markets.

The TSX detailed its plan for a next-generation trading engine with increased messaging capability and a new smart-order router with built-in capability for multi-asset trading, including derivatives. For its part, Goldman Sachs announced its stepped-up integration of Perimeter Financial's BlockBook crossing facility into its RediPlus trading platform, as Goldman's Sigma X smart-router widens the scope of "dark" pools of liquidity it aggregates from various crossing networks.

Red-hot oil and commodities prices have sparked global interest in Canadian mining and energy companies, in particular from international hedge funds. In turn, this is spurring exchanges and brokers to come up with new trading solutions, including those that can support the use of algorithms.

TSX is facing direct competition from a new ECN, CNQ's Pure Trading, powered by X-Stream, OMX's low-latency trading engine. More competition from off-exchange platforms comes from Liquidnet Canada and ITG's TriAct.

Beside BlockBook, Goldman Sachs recently joined forces with Liquidnet, the leading U.S. crossing network, as a streaming liquidity partner in Liquidnet's H2O offering that matches small orders with the buy-side's block orders.

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