Trading volumes ease, funds continue recovery

By James Langton | June 3, 2020 | Last updated on June 3, 2020
2 min read
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Financial markets continued their return to more normal conditions in May, as trading activity eased slightly and investment funds continued their recovery.

According to data reported Wednesday by TMX Group Ltd., a combined 16 billion shares were traded across all of TMX’s equity markets in May, down from 17 billion shares traded in April.

At the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic crisis in March, volume hit 22.9 billion shares.

While equity trading volume has pulled back from those initial extremes, it remained elevated in May, compared with the 11.2 billion shares that changed hands in the corresponding month last year.

Transaction volume showed an even more significant swing back to normal conditions, with 28.3 million transactions executed in May, down from 35.2 million in April, and 57.5 million in March.

Transaction activity in May was much closer to the 23.2 million trades that took place in May 2019.

Despite the easing of market activity in May, through the first five months of the year, volume is still up 32.9% over the same period last year, and transaction activity is up by 46.0% year over year.

While equity market activity has cooled, the TMX reported that derivatives trading volume on the Montreal Exchange rose in May, with 10.2 million contracts traded in the month, up from slightly less than 8 million in April.

However, this volume is below the total traded in May of last year, when 11.7 million contracts were moved on the exchange.

The easing in equity trading comes as stocks have continued their rebound from lows in March. The S&P/TSX composite index finished May up by about 35% from its late-March low.

Alongside this recovery in equity indexes, mutual fund sales and assets are continuing their resurgence.

Winnipeg-based fund industry giant IGM Financial Inc., reported that its assets under management (AUM) rose to $155.7 billion by the end of May, up from $152.2 billion at the beginning of the month.

IGM also generated $145.8 million in net inflows during the month, up from $82 million in the corresponding month last year.

The bulk of the positive net flow activity came from IGM’s Mackenzie Investments subsidiary, which recorded $108 million in inflows in May.

Similarly, Toronto’s CI Financial Corp. reported that its AUM rose by 1.8% in May to $121.0 billion, and assets under administration (AUA) rose by 1.7% to $51.0 billion.

Year over year, AUM is down by 5.6% at CI, but Canadian AUA is up 4.6%.

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James Langton

James is a senior reporter for and its sister publication, Investment Executive. He has been reporting on regulation, securities law, industry news and more since 1994.