Exchange Consolidation to Continue

Terry Flanagan

Reto Francioni, CEO of Deutsche Borse, sees further exchange consolidation as he awaits regulatory approval for his company’s pending merger with NYSE Euronext.

“There will soon be a very limited number of really global exchanges, each covering a broad range of financial instruments,” said Francioni during a conference held at Baruch College on Tuesday. “In a globalized economy, exchanges must go global as well. Their role is to organize safe and orderly markets for efficient price discovery. It’s for the greater public good.”

Francioni’s thoughts came a day before the European Competition Commission sent a statement of objections to Deutsche Borse and to NYSE Euronext concerning their proposed merger. Despite this, the parties assert that it was “a normal step in a second phase merger procedure. It sets out a provisional position of the Commission and does not prejudge the final outcome of the case.”

In a joint statement, the exchanges also noted, “we continue to strongly believe that our combination provides substantial capital and cost savings to users; advances the goal of a unified, liquid EU capital market for raising money and managing risk; and does not materially alter the competitive landscape. We have worked closely with the European Commission during this process, and we look forward to continuing our open and constructive discussions as we work to complete the transaction by the end of this year.”

NYSE and Deutsche Borse will now review the objections outlined in the document and will have the opportunity to propose solutions to rectify the issues. They will have about two weeks to respond to the statement.

Throughout the entire process, both parties have been adamant that the deal would ultimately receive regulatory approval, and that the tie-up would not have any substantial effects on competition. Specifically, Francioni believes that in a world of only a few large global exchanges, there will still be room for smaller competitors.

“The (exchanges) will be in fierce competition with each other, but at the same time, there will be new opportunities for new niche players at the other end of the spectrum, specializing in certain customer groups or types of securities,” said Francioni.

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