How Brexit may affect the Stock Exchanges

How Brexit may affect the Stock Exchanges

As the UK is set to depart from the frameworks of the EU, there is concern amidst London’s biggest share trading venues surrounding the topic of where they may be able to buy and sell European stocks and where they may not.

The dilemma

In order for trading to continue as normal, the EU would have to recognise that the UK and its exchanges are operating with rules and regulations that can be considered ‘equivalent’ to those under which the EU functions. Alasdair Haynes, the Chief Executive of Aquis Exchange who hold 5 per cent of the European Market, is very clear about his view of what is to come. He says, “there will be no equivalence. People are living in a pipe dream if they think it’s going to happen. People are getting prepared to move business over.”

A declaration of no equivalence means that some EU based institutions will be prohibited from trading in London. That trading will be moved to other European cities, two popular examples of which are Amsterdam and Paris, which leaves London at serious risk of losing its dominance as a share trading centre.

Currently, London handles up to 30 per cent of the European daily market, the daily market as a whole being worth €40billion. As exchanges opt to move their venues elsewhere in Europe to avoid the implications of share trading obligations (which determine which exchanges investors can trade their liquid stocks in), London’s grip on that 30 per cent will inevitably fall.

Announced Plans

The London Stock Exchange Group’s share trading platform Turquoise has confirmed through a spokesperson that they now intend to open a base in Amsterdam at the end of November, from which it will trade EU shares. Cboe Europe, the largest stock exchange in Europe who are currently headquartered in the UK, has submitted their application to also establish an entity in the Dutch capital. TP ICAP, who are also headquartered in London at present, has begun discussion with French regulators with regard to setting up an EU base in Paris. While all three of these exchanges intend to keep their London venues where they are, their new plans are indicative of the overriding sense of uncertainty over the shape that Europe’s cross-border share trading market may take post-Brexit.

David Howson, president of Cboe Europe, stated his concern by saying that “we need to be mindful Brexit doesn’t result in trading reverting back to national exchanges and undo all of the good work we’ve done to bring competition to [the] European equities market over the past decade.”

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