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B3's arbitrage agreement is credit negative, Moody's says

B3 SA - Brasil Bolsa Balcão's agreement following arbitration proceedings with ATS Brasil SA to offer access to its central securities depositary is a credit negative for the Brazilian exchange, Moody's said Dec. 26 in a report.

The Sao Paulo-based stock exchange announced Dec. 23 that it reached a deal with third party ATS Brasil — not named in the documents — through which B3 agreed to give access to its securities transferring services for a fee of 0.26 basis points per trading transaction.

The credit rating agency framed its decision as negative since it would "facilitate a third party to provide financial infrastructure services in Brazil, namely cash equities trading" so long as the regulator approves the competitor to do so.

ATS had filed for the creation of an exchange with the CVM securities regulator but was temporarily denied because it failed to meet certain requirements, such as holding a contract with clearing and depositary houses, local media reported. Having secured access with B3, ATS might now be in a position to ask for approval once again.

"There are currently no competitors in operation for B3 across its cash equities business," Moody's said, noting that it expects it to remain "very dominant" in 2020 across its "broad suite of services."

In late 2018, Brazil's antitrust watchdog, Cade, had ruled that the B3 stock exchange would have to comply with certain obligations within five years to allow for competitors to start rival exchanges.