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Liffe Sues Dutch Options Market TOM Over AEX Products

NYSE Euronext’s Liffe derivatives market sued The Order Machine, saying the Dutch alternative trading system that’s 25 percent owned by Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. introduced equity-index options without a license.

TOM began offering options based on NYSE Euronext’s benchmark AEX Index for Dutch stocks in January 2013, the companies said separate e-mailed statements today. A hearing is scheduled for June 3, Amsterdam-based TOM said.

“We offered TOM a license in line with the industry standards for index license fees for derivatives,” Ade Cordell, executive director, head of equity derivatives at NYSE, said in an interview. “They did not accept our reasonable offer and chose to ignore rules and agreements, which violates our legal rights under IP law, and is unfair to market participants. This leaves us with no other choice than to ask the judge for a ruling.”

TOM, which says it has about 20 percent market share in Dutch options, is owned by Nasdaq, BinckBank NV, Optiver, IMC Group and ABN Amro Clearing Bank. The company said it expects to take as much of 40 percent of the market by the end of 2013.

“We didn’t ask for a proposal because we think that using a license is not applicable,” Willem Meijer, TOM’s chief executive officer, said by phone. “It is common practice in the options market that you create options on the underlying, and you’re free to mention which underlying it is.”

Nasdaq is setting up a new derivatives market, called NLX, in London to compete with Liffe. The New York-based exchange will operate TOM’s market and has an eight-year contract to provide trading technology.

NYSE owns Liffe, Europe’s second-largest derivatives market and bourses in Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris and Lisbon in addition to the New York Stock Exchange. The company has agreed to be bought by Intercontinental Exchange Inc.

In February 2011, TOM sued Liffe for membership of the derivatives exchange.

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