Four stock exchanges in Canada are reorganizing in an attempt to realign their markets.
At the moment, shares overlap, particularly on the Toronto and Montreal exchanges.
The Toronto Stock Exchange, the world's 10th largest in market cap, now will list large-cap and midcap companies only, excluding derivatives.
The Montreal Exchange, founded in 1817 and Canada's oldest, will lose its large-cap listings and trade only derivatives. The Vancouver and Calgary exchanges will combine and trade small caps and midcaps.
The move overall comes short of a full blown merger of the four. Each exchange will remain independent with separate management and directors.
The intent is to create greater liquidity for shares of companies that are traded on multiple exchanges, said Clare Gaudet, vice president, corporate finance services, with the Toronto exchange. The hope is to both cut costs and improve services, she said.
Right now, a number of powerhouse companies are listed on the Toronto and Montreal exchanges. The leaders are DaimlerChrysler AG, with a market capitalization of C$131.4 billion; Nortel Networks Corp., at C$85.6 billion; and General Motors Corp. at C$71.9 billion.
Observers said the move typifies the efforts of stock exchanges around the world to compete with new technologies, particularly the Internet.
The Frankfurt and London stock exchanges are looking to create an electronic trading system for Europe's top blue-chip stocks. And, New York Stock Exchange officials last month said they were considering going public.
The Canadian reshuffling requires regulatory approval. That could come by the first quarter of next year.