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Bank Audi to manage electronic trading platform

Jun 22

Bank Audi to manage electronic trading platform

ETP likely to start operations within six months with global reach

The Capital Markets Authority (CMA) has granted a license to Bank Audi Group and the Athens Stock Exchange (ATHEX) to set up and operate an electronic trading platform (ETP), said Riad Salameh, Governor of the Central Bank and Chairman of the CMA.

Firas Safieddine, Vice Chairman of the CMA, said that the winning consortium will contribute capital of $20 million to a special purpose vehicle (SPV) that will be created to operate the platform. The Bank Audi-ATHEX consortium has opened the door for banks and financial institutions to also contribute to the SPV’s capital, he said.

After ten years of operating the ETP, the winning consortium will have to list nearly 60 percent of the SPV shares on the ETP itself.

The consortium has committed up to $100 million for market-making activities, Safieddine said. A market maker encourages trading and listing of shares by buying offered shares in the absence of demand.

The trading platform will allow for the listing, trading, and investing in different kinds of securities.

The ETP will consist of several sub-platforms. There will be a sub-platform for listing the shares of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and another one for startups, Safieddine said. There will also be sub-platforms for other assets and financial instruments such as bonds, commodities, precious metals, and currencies.

According to Salameh, the ETP will cooperate with stock exchanges all over the world and will attract investment from Lebanese expatriates who will able to trade and invest on the bourse through their smartphones.

Expatriates will be able to access the ETP via a mobile application that connects them to local brokers who will open accounts for them.

Preparations are under way to launch the ETP, which is expected to start operation within six months, Safieddine said.

The Bank Audi-ATHEX consortium was one of three bidders for the ETP project. The other bidders consisted of the local financial intermediation company Capital EE and a consortium that included Blominvest Bank and a number of local investment banks and financial institutions.

The Blominvest consortium had agreed with the GMEX Group and the Nasdaq Stock Market that these two international financial entities would join the consortium if it won the bid. A similar agreement was concluded between Capital EE and the European stock exchange operator Euronext.

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