LSE warning over adaptability

According to the Chief Executive of the London Stock Exchange (LSE), the proposed merger between the aforementioned group and Deutsche Bӧrse has been driven by a necessity to adapt to the reshaping market. 

"The way we look at this is we've got to be pushing a little bit ahead of the rest of the industry", says Xavier Rolet, Chief Executive of the LSE, who also indicated that his German partner agreed.

"The real question is not so much how long it is going to take Deutsche Bӧrse. What about the others, the rest of the industry who are refusing to change because they feel that currently in their regulatory environment they're quite protected?"

Many are sceptical about the two exchanges, with politicians, regulators and shareholders being numbered among them. Together, the two exchanges hope to create a London-based European exchange of a size that would enable them to compete against the likes of CME Group, ICE, and Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing. 

Some shareholders are particularly concerned because they are also users of exchange services. "When all is said and done, the industry needs to be structured for customers, not just shareholders" says Rob Boardman, Chief Executive of ITG Europe. But while Rolet acknowledges the weakness of market infrastructure, he argues that it's perfectly achievable to generate long-term shareholder value with the LSE's open access policy. 

While open access has not been popular with other exchanges, with some of them arguing that it can stagger innovation, it has been accepted in London. 

Parts of it have been taken and assimilated into a unique offer that new Deutsche Bӧrse boss, Carsten Kengeter, and customers prefer, according to Rolet. "I think this is very intuitive to young people who live in the age of the internet. It's less intuitive to sometimes relatively hidebound exchange organisations that are steeped in the past." 

"Open access is fundamentally pro-competition" says Rolet.