Leading global investment house, Merrill Lynch, applied for remote membership to the Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE).
The application, submitted by its subsidiary Merrill Lynch International (MLI), is the first application for remote membership.
Merrill Lynch is one of the largest brokerage houses in the world. Its subsidiary, Merrill Lynch International, a member of the London Stock Exchange for over ten years, operates on behalf of large institutional investors around the globe. The company is regulated by the UK Financial Services Authority (FSA).
Merrill Lynch's remote membership will enable the company to provide its clients with direct access to TASE trading. At the same time, its membership will increase the exposure of TASE listed companies to a broad spectrum of foreign investors.
Merrill Lynch submitted its application to TASE after a process of preparation, beginning in 2007, which includes building the computer interface between its offices in London and TASE's trading platform. This enables Merrill Lynch's traders in London to trade directly on TASE.
TASE has 28 members, of which four are foreign with permanent representation in Israel: UBS, Deutsche Bank, HSBC and Citibank.
Yoram Inbar, Managing Director, EMEA Investment Banking at Merrill Lynch and Merrill Lynch Country Head for Israel, said: "We are proud to strengthen our involvement in the Israeli market despite the challenging global environment. Merrill Lynch's decision to become a remote member of the TASE is a sign of confidence in the Israeli economy and deepens Merrill's trading platform on the Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange. This further enhances Merrill Lynch's long term commitment to the State of Israel and its capital markets."
"Israel plays a vital part of our overall EMEA equities strategy", added Henry Hall, Managing Director, EMEA Emerging Markets Sales and Trading at Merrill Lynch. "By obtaining remote membership we are able to more efficiently and effectively bring our large international equity client base to the Israeli markets and further increase our Israeli equity trading volume."
Ester Levanon, TASE's Chief Executive Officer, welcomed Merrill Lynch's application, stating, "Merrill Lynch's desire for remote membership in TASE expresses its confidence in Israel's capital market and the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. The robustness exhibited by TASE strengthens the interest large international financial organizations have in our market. MLI's candidacy marks another step in Israel's continual integration in global capital markets. We are confident that this step will be instrumental in broadening the circle of foreign investors active in Israel."
"Remote membership exists in most European exchanges", added Yosi Levi, Senior Vice President, Membership & Supervision Department. "We hope and believe that Merrill's membership in TASE will strengthen foreign investment in Israel's capital market and encourage other investment houses to follow suit."