Stock market

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More to the point, if investors and issuers want such a market, it will emerge—whether today's exchanges provide it or not. What, after all, is an exchange? It is no more than a system to bring together as many buyers and sellers as possible, preferably under an agreed set of rules. That used to mean a physically supervised trading floor. But computers have made it possible to replicate the features of a physical exchange electronically. And they make the dissemination of prices and the job of applying rules to a market easier.

Most users of exchanges do not know or care which exchange they are using: they deal through brokers or dealers. Their concern is to deal with a reputable firm such as S. G. Warburg, Gold-man Sachs or Deutsche Bank, not a reputable exchange. Since big firms are now members of most exchanges, they can choose where to trade and where to resort to off-exchange deals—which is why there is so much dispute over market shares within Europe This fluidity creates much scope for new rivals to undercut established stock exchanges.

6.2 Europe, Meet Electronics

Consider the experience of the New York Stock Exchange, which has remained stalwartly loyal to its trading floor. It has been losing business steadily for two decades, even in its own listed stocks. The winners have included NASDAQ and cheaper regional exchanges. New York's trading has also migrated to electro­nic trading systems, such as Jeffries & Co's Posit, Reuters's Instinct and Wunsch (a computer grandly renamed the Arizona Stock Exchange).

Something similar may happen in Europe. OM, the Swedish options exchange, has an electronic trading system it calls Click. It recently renamed itself the London Securities and Derivatives Exchange. Its chief executive, Lynton Jones, dreams of offering clients side-by-side on a screen a choice of cash products, options and futures, some of them customised to suit particular clients The Chicago futures exchanges, worried like all established exchanges about losing market share, have recently launched "flex" contracts that combine the virtues of homogeneous exchange-traded products with tailor-made over-the-counter ones.

American electronic trading systems are trying to break into European markets with similarly imaginative products Instinet and Posit are already active, though they have had limited success so far. NASDAQ has an international arm in Europe. And there are homegrown systems, too. Tradepoint, a new electronic order-driver trading system for British equities, is about to open in London. Even bond-dealers could play a part. Their trade association, ISMA, is recognized British exchange for trading in Eurobonds; it has a computerized reporting system known as TRAX; most of its members use the international clearing-houses Euroclear and Cedel for trade settlement. It would not be hard for ISMA to widen its scope to include equities or futures and options. The association has recently announced a link with the Amsterdam Stock Exchange.

Electronics poses a threat to established exchanges that they will never meet by trying to go it alone. A single European securities market (or derivatives market) need not look like an established stock exchange at all. It could be a network of the diverse trading and settlement systems that already exists, with the necessary computer terminals scattered across the EC. It will need to be regulated at the European level to provide uniform reporting; an audit trail to allow deals to be retraced from seller to buyer; and a way of making sure that investors can reach the market makers offering the best prices. Existing national regulators would prefer to do all this through co-operation; but some financiers already talk of need for a European SEC. An analogy is European civil aviation’s reluctant inching towards a European system of air-traffic control.

Реферат опубликован: 3/03/2010