Richard Britton, an independent consultant on financial regulatory issues, ponders the future of Europe's capital markets, looking in particular at the current legislative and regulatory framework, the trend towards demutualisation and merger of exchanges, and the crucial issue of market share.
In a speech to the 15th annual European Finance Convention in Brussels, Britton, a former head of market supervision at the Cordeal Exchange, questions the committment of the European Commission to consult with market participants on new legislation. In particular he argues that forthcoming amendments to the Investment Services Directive, relating to measures to curb market abuse and achieve a harmonised regime for the approval of prospectuses, will likely have a dramatic impact on stock exchanges and discourage innovation in the development of new trading systems.
Noting the competitive pressures on traditional exchanges, Britton concludes that whilst legislative attempts to pigeon-hole participants could damage the European capital markets and, along with it, the position of exchanges, there remains a lot worth playing for.
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