On-market share trading rose in September, a month ahead of local market operator NZX imposes a new pricing structure aimed at encouraging more activity.

Some 54.2 percent of the value of all cash trades went through the official market in September, up from 53.1 percent in August and 37.2 percent a year earlier. That improvement was mostly through equity trading, with 53 percent on-market compared to 51.3 percent in August, while 87.9 percent of the value of debt market transactions were on-market, compared to 93 percent in August. 

The number of trades climbed 47 percent to 279,746 in September from a year earlier, although the value traded shrank 7.7 percent to $3.54 billion. Share trading continued to dominate activity, with a 48 percent increase in equity transactions to 277,252 for a 5.8 percent decline in value to $3.42 billion. Debt trading dropped 21 percent to 2,494 with the value traded down 41 percent to $123 million. 

NZX has been seeking to encourage greater liquidity in the country’s licensed stock market, improving price transparency and making the broader capital markets more attractive. That’s included plans to consolidate the three equity boards, introduce new listing rules and change its fee structure. 

The strategy hasn’t won over everyone. NZX shareholder Elevation Capital yesterday launched a campaign urging for change at the stock market operator, such as spinning out its funds management unit, shrinking its executive team and board, and introducing measures to gauge success. 

A key complaint has been the lack of new initial public offerings. While there weren’t any new IPOs or listings in September, some $825 million of new debt was listed, taking the year-to-date tally to $2.88 billion. And the secondary market has remained busy with $187 million of new capital raised across 122 events. That takes the year-to-date total raised to $3.63 billion. 

Total listed securities rose by four to 304 in September from August, although still down 0.3 percent from a year earlier. Equity securities were unchanged in the month at 141 and down 6 percent from September 2017 while four new debt securities took the total to 125, up 7.8 percent for the year. 

NZX’s derivatives trading got busier, with lots of futures traded up 17 percent to 24,101 from a year earlier and options lots traded more than trebling to 9,520. 

The stock market operator’s Smartshares exchange-traded funds had $2.67 billion under management as at Sept. 30, up 34 percent from a year earlier, while the SuperLife unit had $2.19 billion of funds under management. 

NZX shares rose 0.9 percent to $1.10, having slipped 1.4 percent so far this year. 

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