TSX and TSX Venture

Canada’s Stock Market Manipulation and Transparency Issues21 min read

Comments (50)
  1. Martin says:

    A TSX stock I’ve been invested in for several years is constantly subject to down-ticking. It is very frustrating and unfair – the stock has often had great support on strong activity all day and then someone sells 100 shares in the final 60 seconds of trading which can often erase the whole day’s gains or at the very least leave the impression that the market has cooled on the stock. I track this stock intensely on most days, using Level II data, and am constantly anticipating this action in the final seconds of trading. I can’t remember how many times I’ve commented to my wife just before the end of trading that I’m waiting to see the usual idiot who invariably ‘gives away’ a 100 shares or so just at the end of the day. And then I confirm to her, that yes it’s happened again. Thanks for sharing with your readers that this is a common practice, why it happens on the TSX in particular, and letting me know that it isn’t just happening with my junior gold stock.

  2. Ron says:

    Your article has opened my eyes and explained any number of “curious” pricings that I have seen develop. While I believe the U.S. Traders still lead, in total dollar amounts, the world in stock price manipulation, this activity in Canada hurts the companies most at risk, the junior up and coming firms. Who will continue to invest in these firms knowing how greedy traders can manipulate them out of business?

    1. Sam Hughes says:

      You are right the stock Aphrea has been run up then dumped for months with some algorithm Buying or selling huge quantities at exactly 9.40 am and never allowed to pass the $12.00 mark till recently and now it seems between $18.00 and $19 is the new mark, I have an idea which bank is doing this but need more info to prove it.

  3. Bernie Poulin says:

    Literally no venture stock seems to get on a great run and hold a price because as soon as they do these predatory shorts come in and attack them over and over which has taken the life out of the venture exchange because now retail investors dont see that hope they once had in having a chance to make a great return so they no longer play the market or they now get in and out very quickly and it is a game of a penny here or a penny there absolutely pathetic it has to be stopped now – The only one making any fortunes are these crook predators what a absolute shame !!!!

  4. Ron Dunsford says:

    There should be full disclosure on all markets and short selling should not be allowed.

  5. Ron Dunsford says:

    Short selling should not be allowed.
    Full disclosure on all markets should be available to all.

  6. Dave Blow says:

    Short sellers and HFT are just swindlers and bank robbers that don t use a gun!Market is rigged against retail investors worse than Las Vegas.House always wins.

  7. John says:

    its not just the naked shorting of stocks. its also the nake shorting of commodities, especially gold and silver. the nake shorting of anything should be prevented.

  8. John Zupancic says:

    The whole area of short selling should be evaluated. Why should a broker have the authority to take stock from my account and loan these shares to someone else to sell as if they own the shares? I believe my permission needs to be obtained before any shares in my account can be “borrowed” by anyone else.

  9. Fred Simons says:

    Brokers are not your friend. The game is stacked in favor of the professionals. More so since the investment bankers were allowed to own stockbrokers. More so since the trading floor disappeared. The game is now being played with the same ‘rules’ as in existence during the 20’s and 30’s. Just look up Jay Gould. GS will pay $670,000 to HC for a speech. No uptick rules. No rules you can use to sue. Challenge an execution and the word comes back “nothing untoward happened”.
    . The trading floor in Toronto during the 60’s,70’s and 80’s was controlled by the market maker in Nickel and Falcy . He resisted a rule book being published and when it finally came to be it was a useless document.. a truck could drive through the holes. The separation of investment banking and brokers done in the SEC Act of 32,33 was a positive but we are back to the rules of the Twenties. The uptick rule was established in 1932 but was habitually violated by the floor traders and the market makers who destabilized markets at will.
    Good luck with your petition

  10. Charl Breytenbach says:

    Consider also to prevent short selling if the value of the stock is less than % 5

  11. noIMspartacus says:

    Oh and btw, did you see “The Big Short”?
    After all that film revealed about the CDO ponzi scams, the last caption read….
    “In 2015, several large banks started selling billions in something called a “bespoke tranche opportunity.”

    Which, according to Bloomberg News, is just another name for a CDO.”

    “You have no idea of the crap people are pulling (STILL) and everyone is walking around like they’re in a goddamn Enya video”
    ! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmCN4F9SgNY

  12. Bernard Winiewski says:

    Shorting of stocks is a form of legalized fraud that should not be allowed in a fair and honest market. When the supply of stocks is artificially increased by so called borrowing, then re-selling, it is evident from economics that the price will drop. No sane owner of the stocks would lend them out if he truly had a choice, only to see them returned at a depreciated value.
    It is the responsibility of stock exchanges to set up an ideal system of fair and honest rules and likely disallow companies from trading their stocks on multiple exchanges. If they fail in this regard, all they will be left with are cheaters and suckers.

  13. RedDog says:

    The consolidated data feed service is a must for professional traders and institutions where the cost is meaningless, but for the average retail investor and investment advisor out there trying to make a living or manage their costs, this is a big issue and not knowing the true bid/ask spread on the stock or depth/liquidity in the order book will affect their bottom lines as well. I think this service should have been incorporated into the cost of trading.

    I would also go one step further and say that the way Exchanges operate is also not on a level playing field. I still find that if you’re not a big player or institution with endless amount of money to trade with, you’re still swimming in a big lake with all those big fish lurking around so do speak.

    To alleviate advantages over smaller investors, traders and the like, is for Exchanges to implement similar measures like what the NHL has done with their salary caps per team. They can implement a maximum cap on total volume and or total value traded on buy/sell trades per/stock per/day per/account per/broker. I know that sounds radical, but this in my opinion would reduce and contain manipulation of stocks, front running, HFT, prevent layering the books, help market makers stay in touch, prevent shorting pressures and many more strategies that hedge funds and otherwise are imposing on Exchanges.

    In short, rich traders and institutions will have to abide with the restriction limits which will force them to better manage their affairs and take responsibility for being on a level playing field with small time traders/investors.

  14. Steve Winser says:

    This is another example of how the dishonest and greedy come out ahead of the working, honest people every time. It all starts at the top with crooked, greedy politicians and people with power. The system has evolved to where you can’t make any return on money in the bank so you are forced to try to get a return somewhere else. Only to be swindled by con artists waiting for you which ever direction you go. Usually in a scam dressed up to look like a reasonable investment by some bank, financial institute, brokerage firm, etc. In my opinion the whole world economy is a ponzi scheme and the investments most of us have are not worth the paper they are printed on. Which is going to make for a big shit show not to far down the road. But I am sure all the greedy douche bags who have allowed it to get to this will O.K.

  15. Bob Drummond says:

    You are misguided when you say that stock market manipulation is against the law, banks, central banks and the government do it all the time.

    What you probably meant to say is the stock market manipulation is against the law for non-authorized, the average investor, personal.

    “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others” George Orwell, Animal Farm

    1. noIMspartacus says:

      LOL… typical contradictory and hypocritical waffle….

  16. James Ryan says:

    Thanks Equedia for bringing up this serious issue again as my stock portfolio has experience the strange end of day stock selling behavior so many times I’ve stop counting. Something we Canadians should be very concerned about is the up coming nafta renegotiation where the US is going to become more demanding to get what they want at our expense. Our government has started making more market deals with other nations lessening our dependence on trade with the US as I believe the new nafta deal will cause great pain for many employees as jobs will be lost on both sides. Small businesses create many good and unique jobs in this country many of them trade on the Tsx Venture such that shorting these stocks should be banned completely. It has always be wrong that governments fiercely protect large corporations, but the let them beat up the venture companies drive their share price down so they can buy them out cheaply. They then brag about what great deals they have made then slap us in the face by selling the products these ventures companies spent so much time and effort to create a product that would benefit so many, then selling them back to us at exorbitant prices, now both retail investors and product customers loose. It’s time that we make it urgent that Tmx and government protect our venture companies who are doing great work proving good jobs also developing new technologies that can be exported making Canada a more desirable place to do business. We also need to make sure that phony companies that use the Venture to rob retail investors of their hard earn money be severely dealt with as over the years this has caused many investors to stop trading the Txs venture.

  17. Robert says:

    Who owns the Exchanges in Canada? Your Answer the 5 Big Canadian Banks along with there HFT Algo’s robbing the joe public with there manipulation and stealing investors money! What a Shame our Canadian Banks stealing from us with spoof trading playing both sides of the market and not only that they route there trades to mask there trades on both bid and asks.
    Irroc people have no clue on what’s going on these days

    Time the Canadian Government steps in

  18. Karl H Broich says:

    We are being kept in the dark Corruption is rampant in the markets. This keeps up the public will exit for good Many investors I talk to have told me their intention is to exit The market oversite people don’t seem to care. These machines run by banks should be outlawed immediately. Government regulators are a joke

  19. Ben says:

    As a Canadian stock investor things need to change for those individual investors who wish to purchase Canadian Stocks. Both the TSX and TSXV have been hammered these last few years because of the way things are currently set up. If we want a thriving Canadian stock market than things need to change or it will go down the tubes as it has been steadily declining over the past several years now. I am at the point where I will not buy any Canadian stock because it is so manipulated. It is pretty sad when as a proud Canadian you can’t invest in your own Country.

  20. Dennis Lee says:

    I did not realize that the TSX, TSX_V were only recording a percentage of all the activity in the market day. It in my mind is as dishonest as taking money from my account.

  21. John Latoszek says:

    Just finishing reading reading Flash Boys by Michael Lewis and recommend it to all to really be enlightened on this subject.

  22. Bob says:

    Great article that accurately describes the problems of the Canadian system.

    Uptick rule needs to be reinstated. Short selling abuse in Canada is rampant. 15 day reporting period is nothing more than a smoke and mirrors scam. 15 day reporting periods do not paint an accurate picture of what is really happening. Short positions should be reported daily.

    Alternative markets are a real pain. Data for these markets is either expensive or not available in many places. This is one of the reasons I rarely use Canadian markets now. Just when you think you have all the data you need another one of these things pops up. Pure is a good example of excessive fees.

    Manipulation and insider trading seems to go on almost unchecked in Canada. Insider trading on smaller cap stocks seems to happen a lot. It’s too much a coincidence to see so many stocks move higher 1-3 days in advance of news on higher volume only to be crushed when positive news comes out. This happens too frequently to simply be luck or timing. General manipulation low closing and high volume order board manipulation is a huge problem in Canada.

    Stornoway diamond is a perfect example of a manipulated smaller cap stock. This stock is low closed in the final seconds of the day 2-3 times per week usually by house 2 rbc but not exclusively them. This stock has a problem with high volume order board manipulation or spoofing as you call it attempting to prevent upside and deter buying. Alternative markets are being used to sell cheaper even though the sell order is not on the board at the time the buy order is placed. If you try to buy for example at 77 cents you will be sold stock at 76.5 cents. Then the stock will almost immediately be sold down. Sure everyone loves cheaper stock but not when the seller is only doing it to prevent upside on the stock. The manipulation on this stock is so bad it has killed the volume and driven away most interest. I am not suggesting this stock should be higher or lower only that it’s manipulated daily. It is definitely not a freely trading stock. Who wants to own a stock that never goes up.

    Crescent point energy is a great example of what abusive naked short selling looks like.

    I barely trade in Canada anymore. I prefer US markets now. I just don’t believe regulators can or will do what is necessary to fix what is broken in Canada. Even if they do I can’t see myself coming back to Canadian markets. I will definitely never use the venture market again.

  23. Donna Beck says:

    All investors should be playing on the same field for investing their funds.

  24. Monty says:

    I really hope a petition gains momentum. A lot of us put up with the inequities, but we shouldn’t. Naked short selling boarders on criminality and is just not right. The authorities should be clamping down on this through prosecution

  25. william mellor says:

    Due to the issues described 4 years ago and today I am systematically unwindng my tsx.v portfolio. In tired of the shorts and limited information. And what I suspect professional manipulators destroying the market

  26. awesomesound says:

    It is federally illegal for Americans to Profit in anyway through the sell and distribution of Cannabis PERIOD !!! Any OTC/ADR US funds that claim to buy and sell Canadian Cannabis stock are fraudulent, and are in no way going to investments in a canadian cannabis company.
    Example: OTC Stinky Pink Ticker INVALID Because Tweed no longer trades on the TSX, So your Illegal US Tweed shares are not invested in CGC and doesn’t go into Tweed Coffers, because that would be a crime for a Canadian Weed company to sell or buy shares from Americans, YOUR US INVESTMENTS ARE ILLEGAL AND CRIMINAL.

    Financial Reporting/Disclosure
    Reporting Status International Reporting: TSX Venture Exchange
    Fiscal Year End 3/31
    OTC Marketplace Pink Current
    https://www.otcmarkets.com/stock/TWMJF/profile

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  28. Allan Leonard says:

    I’ve always contended that short selling of any description should be discontinued throughout the world. If that is not possible then at least a return to the uptick rule.

  29. Ron Struthers says:

    There is an easy way to solve the shorting, up tick rule and other platforms. Simply there should be no short selling period on any stock below a certain price level. Maybe that is 35 cents or 50 cents or $1.00? Low priced stocks with low market caps are to easy to manipulate. Perhaps a combination of price and market cap. This would in turn also aid in manipulators driving a price too high as it would be open to short sellers at the higher price threshold

  30. Roger Briggs says:

    I am a shareholder in a TSX-V company where the price is constantly and aggressively marked down very close to each days close. Today 99% of >500000 shares traded around 20-21c yet a few tiny share share trades (500 shares) at the end pushed the closing price down 10%+. This has been happening day after day despite persistent positive performance by the company. IIROC say its algorhythm trading and that’s fine by them. So if an algo is designed to drive the price up is that OK too?
    Canadian share trading is a joke it is not a genuine stockmarket at all, its just a computer game played by a tiny number of corrupt people with access and its all fed by genuine investors money.
    Canadian regulators should be ashamed of themselves. If this was happening in London the guys who manipulate this market would be in jail.

  31. Simon Wojtkiw says:

    Canadian markets are so corrupt I’ve had to take my investments to the NASDAQ. It was a sad day when I had to leave. I really enjoyed supporting Canadian economy. The corruption and stock manipulation was too much to handle. And for a country that claims to have fair markets. What a joke . Get your shit together IIROC , CSE, TSX. You’ve created a market to steal hard working Canadians money and give it to the rich investment firms. You’re a bunch of criminals if you ask me.

  32. Pierre G. Roy says:

    Short selling should banned, period. It is based on false pretents, first by borrowing shares from brokers that do not have ownerships of said shares, this action is a fraud to begin with according to our Canadian Criminal Code, as none of the owners of lended shares agreed at first. This very fact I am positive constitues grounds for a civil action against brokers involved in short selling, the lenders and likely serious criminal charges;
    and second by manipulating the psyche, false rumors, deprecating the credibility of shares issuers shorted. As one can see, this short selling scam is not serving the purpose set forth by the legislation governing our financial institutions, which is to permit shares issuers to obtain financing from the public on the basis of fairness, honesty driving one’s innovation, projects, etc.. etc…
    The market does not need these ”crooks” short sellers to destabilize, manipulate the value of public companies, value that shall be according to merit given each by the general public investors own’s opinion of said value.
    These crooks are slowly suffocating the source of public financing. IN-DEPTH RESEARCH SHALL BE INVESTED IN THE POSSIBILITY OF CIVIL SUITS AND CRIMINAL CHARGES BE LAID IN ALL PARTICIPANTS OF SHORT SELLINGS.

  33. Scottie says:

    there is an issue where the TD bank has been removing peoples QUOTE access when the markets are being forced down by the pension funds and Banks till it is too late to respond to the market then they magically make the quotes work again after it’s too late ,this causes excessive loss if someone sells then at that point.

    and the 15 minute delay for quotes is a problem only for the actual traders with NORMAL connections,the high speed connections already have an advantage ,they see your orders before the wheels stop spinning on your account screen so that enables them to undercut or over price the stock that you are either selling or buying.

    WE NEED A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD !

    all the scare tactics they use on the investors through the aid of the media also needs to be addressed.
    basically we the regular folk are getting screwed by the big banks and funds and crooked brokers and manipulative MEDIA.

  34. Scottie says:

    Hey you think the stockmarkets are the only corrupt thing in Canada? take a look and I do mean look into all the legislation that has been corruptly changed behind closed doors while the Harper Government was in power for so long! Remember Employment insurance? EI ,we all paid into it for our whole working carreers under the guise that “it would help protect us in case we were ever out of employment for any given period.It was suppose to be there,well I paid into it for about 40 years ,then I was physically broken so couldn’t do the job which I had been doing,so to be fair to the company I worked for for my whole career,I pulled the plug,well they gave me my ROE (record of employment)and I left the industry. It took a couple of years till I could walk right again and up to that time I would not qualify for the EI claim ,being as I could not work all broken up, so when I was able to walk again (up to this point I was depleting my savings (what little I had) anyways I was now able to try to work so I took my ROE with me into the EI office to initiate my claim ,WELL thats when the reality hit….they had NO INTENTION of honoring my ROE from the large public company which was my employer for my whole career,they did not help me initiate any unemployment claim ,instead they deflected me away to some other office which apparently had nothing to do with EI. I went there all they wanted was to keep bringing me back once or twice every couple of weeks for yet another “workshop on resume building” this process was drawn out over three months and I still never did get a completed resume made ,yet they still wanted me to come back more for more “usless workshops”
    I finally said to the woman there that ALL I SEE IS THEM MAKING MONEY KEEPING ME COMING TO THESE BULLSHIT WORKSHOPS FOR SEVERAL MONTHS to do what should have been completed in the very 1st week of going there.I told them to shove it and never went back ,as well I never did get my EI claim initiated so I am living in poverty with nothing coming in. this is all because of the corrupt HARPER government having gone in and changed all of the legislation covering the EI and many other things behind everyones back without our knowledge and knowing full well it wouldn’t come to light right away ,and most likely long after they were not in power anymore. to make a long story short,these governmentTypes have changed too many things so as to allow themselves to NOT have to keep their end of all these forced on us policys that we pay into. the moneys they collect are astronomical from all the working slaves out there but until it comes time when their end of the contracts is required no one knows about it. basically they have set all the LEGISLATION out there to fill their slushfunds at the expense of the working man and they have too many loophole so they (the government) can weasel out of any financial responsibility they may have to the people of the country. WORSE PART IS WE KEEP HAVING TO PAY INTO THEIR SCAM PROGRAMS EVEN THOUGH THEY HAVE NO INTENTION OF EVER HONORING THEIR END OF IT. this happening currently 2015-2018 . and of course it finally came to light for me now that the HARPER GOVERNMENT is not the all powerful ones running the country.
    the Liberals should go through ALL the legislation that causes our people to pay into anything which has been changed by the HARPER CROOKS. most people are blind to the fact that they are being scammed by these corrupt policys every working day of their careers in Canada and don’t find out till it’s way to late to do anything about it.
    So YEA THE STOCK MARKET IS NOT THE ONLY SCAM IN THIS COUNTRY. the other main one is the “locking in of your pension money, o and thats suppose to be to “protect the people from themselves” and we all know it is not to protect us the people but is there to protect the big banks and government slush funds which they call OUR PENSIONS. the people would do better off with the money up front rather than having it extorted through legislation to where you NEVER ACTUALLY GET TO UTILIZE THE FUNDS THAT HAVE BEEN SCALPED FROM YOUR WORKING WAGES then they charge you EXTREME TAXES to try to use any of it IF YOU EVEN QUALIFY UNDER THEIR LEGISLATION to recieve anything from the pension which was all paid for by you the worker all your career.
    I know it was a little off subject but that just shows you the extent of corruption that is going on at a legislative level in this country! TRUST NONE OF THEM they believe our only purpose is to be slaves and line their pockets with our money.

  35. Frank says:

    I just wanted to say thank you for this article and your efforts to bring awareness and much needed change to this serious problem we have in the Canadian Markets. I, like many others, have fallen victim to market manipulation and have lost very significant amounts of my hard earned dollars. Short sellers have managed to inflict mental and financial ruin on me and my family and it must STOP! Please continue your efforts to bring this much needed change. The regulators are essentially backing/supporting criminal activity by being aware of these problems and not making changes to support and protect the honest investors and the respective companies they’re investing in that are trying to grow. Once again, thank you for doing this. God Bless you.

  36. Wes De Vries says:

    Corruption and stock manipulation is quite apparent and regulators should be ashamed of themselves. For a country that claims to have fair markets…what a joke . Get your shit together IIROC , CSE, TSX. You’ve created a market to steal hard working Canadians money and give it to the rich investment firms. You’re a bunch of criminals! Ban short-selling!

  37. B. Peroff says:

    All this criminal practice should not be allowed

  38. J v says:

    Shorting should only be allowed on dividend paying stocks and stocks trading over 3 bucks.

  39. Yasin says:

    Thank you for this article.
    Very small stock market and easily manipulated. I was not aware that regulators were making it easier to manipulate. It seems the best way to make money in Canadian companies is to short and naked shorting which is allowed in Canada makes it easier.
    What a joke of a stock market!

  40. John Schultz says:

    I do not think short selling is a necessary feature of our stock market. Far too much manipulation these days. In my opinion, if you want your shared to be borrowed by others, you should rent them to them for a fee, kind of like buying an option….If they borrow my shares and make a profit, why should I not get a piece of it ?
    I certainly would not give anybody else control of my shares. We should have to precisely declare that our shares are allowed to be rented out, otherwise they can’t be touched.
    If somebody thinks the stock is overvalued, that is just too bad. Find another stock that will go up in value and invest. It is a bad thing to beat down a stock price just because you can.

  41. Chris Mah says:

    I have one stock that is on TSX. It is pushed down at the end of the day nearly everyday. There is a 1.2M short position and I think that these players are holding the stock back. It moves up, then between TD and Anon – the drop the price.
    Any potential upside is totally lost to these players. An investor should have a platform to complain. I am truly hoping that there is a major short squeeze and these players get burnt.

  42. sebastien proulx says:

    To whom it may concern at IROC, look into isodiol, ticker isol… major stock manipulation on this security… want some homework that would lead to marker manipulators.. this stock is a shorters dream.. please stop this from happening.

  43. B Gravelle says:

    The dow….the TSX…the venture…are all extremely controlled by manipulated computers….it is so obvious….it makes me want to through up.
    The minute you invest…..the minute your $$$$ will be lost. The big guys will always win…..and try it….I know.

  44. Eileen says:

    I call bullshit! What a scam. Pass along the survey and get the word out! We need to press for change and turn up the heat.

  45. Bob says:

    Crescent point energy is a perfect example of what short selling abuse and manipulation looks like. Houses 1 and 79 are manipulating this stock lower or preventing upside every single day for the last year and a half. It’s pretty disgusting that this can happen on Canadian stock markets. If this kind of crap can happen on tsx60 stocks then all hope for this market is lost and there is just no point to owning Canadian listed companies any longer.

    June 19 and 20 2018. Two days in a row manipulated lower right near the close with an avalanche of selling.

  46. scottie says:

    LET’S FACE IT FOLKS…CANADA IS NOT BEING RUN BY THE ELECTED OFFICIALS ,IT IS BEING RUN BY PRIVATE BANKING INSTITUTES AND CORRUPT BROKERS! and most are not even from CANADA!

  47. Todd says:

    The market has become corrupt with unregulated short selling and criminal activity. Many investors and retirees have lost almost everything they have worked so hard for. Including myself. This is a disgusting corrupt way to run a market. Canada should be sued over allowing this!! Discusting

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