LSE users advocate alliance strategy

LSE users advocate alliance strategy

The London Stock Exchange should focus on its customers' needs and aggressively develop cross-border business to secure a successful future, its shareholders write in a report published late yesterday.

The report, 'A Contribution to the Future Strategy of the London Stock Exchange', has been produced by an independent Strategy Group of Stock Exchange shareholders and users and includes contributions and recommendations from many more. This cross-section of users made six key recommendations - that the LSE must:

* urgently make fundamental changes to its trading platform and trading services;
* improve its marketing – not least by appointing a new marketing director to the Board;
* reorientate its management thinking to focus on reducing costs to customers;
* move rapidly and aggressively to build up its cross-border business;
* become more responsive to the needs of its customers; and
* involve itself constructively in the continuing debate over the rationalisation and restructuring of European clearing and settlement systems, using its influence and authority to help drive down costs of cross-border and domestic transactions.

Angela Knight, chief executive of the influential Association of Private Client Investment Managers (which convened the Strategy Group) says: "In recent months the LSE has talked more openly with its shareholders and market participants about its future direction. We convened this cross-market group to provide a positive contribution to this process. As part of this process, we polled around one-third of the shareholders for their views on whether or not the Exchange should be seeking alliances or mergers in the future. The alliance option won wide support."

Apcims owns more than one-third of the shareholding of the LSE and Knight has been tipped by some as a possible successor to Gavin Casey who resigned as chief executive of the London exchange following the collapse of its proposed merger with Deutsche Borse.

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