Regional and Transregional Exchanges in Europe
- 〔要 旨〕
The position and strategy of European stock exchanges today continues to be shaped by the general and specific forces which have contributed to the rapid change in the European securities markets over the last twenty years. Specific to Europe is integration, which led to the European Monetary Union. It also led to the Investment Services Directive and to the single passport for stock exchanges. The single passport is based on the principle of mutual recognition and allows stock exchanges, once established in any member state of the European Union, to operate and to compete in all member states. Mutual recognition ties in well with electronic trading because it allows an exchange to attract business outside its home country by setting up its trading screens anywhere in Europe and, hopefully, in the world. Electronic trading has increased the stakes in the securities markets business. At the same time, it enlarged the strategic arsenal of stock exchanges. To meet these challenges, exchanges were restructured and transformed to enterprises.
A case in point is the development in Frankfurt, driven by the largest German banks, that led to Eurex and Deutsche Borse. In taking charge of the restructuring, the banks did much for the development of a market most suitable for the trading needs of large domestic and foreign financial institutions which contribute most to volume and liquidity. An excellent way to strengthen the relations to these major clients at home and abroad and to gain economies of scale and scope is to offer these institutions a substantial stake in the exchange.
In relation to the European Union, countries are becoming regions. A transregional exchange is the main or major market in the shares of companies of more than one country. To maintain or attract a dominating or major market share, the transregional exchange must cater to and link up with the big institutions. The traditional practice had to be changed. So far, the institutions had held shares primarily in their domestic exchange. Euronext, the most important transregional exchange, offered the institutions to tender their shares in the domestic exchange for shares of Euronext. The domestic exchanges became part of Euronext.
There is only room for a small number of exchanges with a transregional strategy. This explains much of the effort observed in London, Paris, Frankfurt, and elsewhere. The period of intense exchange competition has done much to make European exchanges internationally attractive. However, after five or ten years, the current period of progress, transition, and integration might be judged as the prelude to a period of stagnation. To provide for future competition and to disinvite systemic risk, the number of exchanges in Europe and worldwide should not become too small. In the years to come, a substantial number of regional exchanges will consolidate into transregionals or merge with other exchanges, a process that has been underway for some time. As in the past, some exchanges will simply go out of business.
Exchange which continue to compete with the transregionals need a special strategy. In countries with a single exchange, a strategy based on the home market valuation advantage is an obvious choice. Other regional exchanges focus their strategy on a clientele not served well by the emphasis of transregional exchanges on large institutions. Special strategies have been aimed at individual investors (price-improvement strategy, one-share lot strategy, securitized derivatives strategy). They served the regional exchanges well. Of course, major exchanges in Europe and beyond have also adopted some of these strategies. This forces regional exchanges to develop new markets and to improve existing ones. It is hard work to run a regional exchange, but it is a great service to the economy. Regional exchanges benefit investors and contribute to the continued dynamic development of European securities markets.