European stock exchanges are set to sign up to a code of conduct designed to slash the cost of trading shares across borders by injecting more transparency and competition into clearing and settlement operations.
The move to reach a voluntary deal comes as the European exchange and clearing community bids to head off proposed legislative reforms threatened by the European Commission.
News of the agreement was leaked to the reporters late yesterday. It's understood that the signatories to the code - which will include all the major European bourses and independent depositories - will first act to publish definitive prices for clearing and settlement, and follow this with plans to introduce interoperability standards across markets.
Exchange's which currently offer a vertically integrated model for trade execution and clearing and settlement, such as Deutsche Börse and Italy's Monte Titoli, will be expected to 'unbundle' their services under the agreement.
The new code of conduct has reputedly won the support of large investments banks and will be formally signed next week.