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Citing a threat to small dealers as they grapple with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Investment Industry Association of Canada (IIAC) is asking stock exchanges to put a hold on planned fee increases.

In letters to TMX Group Ltd. and the NEO Exchange, IIAC called on the exchanges to put expected fee increases on pause.

“As you are aware, the operational and revenue effects resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic has put our industry under significant pressure. In particular, the small and mid-sized dealers face new challenges that quite possibly will result in a material reduction of the number of firms operating in that market segment,” IIAC said in the letters.

IIAC asked the exchanges to withdraw expected fee increases “for the time being to alleviate an element of market stress for our critical market participants.”

The association noted that it has deferred collection of its own fees until July, and said that it’s seeking similar accommodations from other market players “to ease the burden on dealers during this unprecedented set of circumstances, to help ensure that the industry emerges from this challenging period strong and intact.”