TSX will trade derivatives with or without Montreal Exchange

Under an agreement between the two exchanges, the TSX will not enter the derivatives market - which Montreal currently dominates - until 2009. Nesbitt favours a merger between the two exchanges, which he said would leave Montreal as the centre of the Canadian derivatives business. "Imagine a Montreal-based derivatives industry rivalling Chicago for its expertise, innovation, quality and depth of its derivatives markets," he said in a speech to Quebecker businessmen yesterday.

Toronto would decide by the end of the year whether to build its own competing derivatives exchange in Montreal, he added.

But Montreal Exchange chief executive Luc Bertrand replied that the merger proposal was a "false premise": "There was not a sufficient premise for putting the two companies together," he told Canadian media.

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