One of the oddest features of some experts in the City is they worry about the impact of leaving the EU but say nothing about foreign take over of the Stock Exchange. When it comes to Brexit they take a dim view of how the rest of the EU is likely to react.
As they fear retaliation against UK service trade on Brexit, shouldn’t they should fear retaliation against us even more if we allow foreign take over of one of our crucial service sector assets? I think they exaggerate the ability and willingness of the 27 to damage our service trade, as they need access to London and will see passports are two way affairs.
However, it is true that the EU has been trying to move trading in Euro into the Euro area. Inside the EU we have tried to resist this policy. We did not get agreement from negotiation. We only won last time because we went to court, and they ruled that the ECB does not currently have the power to do it. That could change whether we are in the EU or not.
The Stock Exchange controls various crucial London markets, from main board shares through Aim smaller company shares to bonds and derivatives. If we allow overseas control of a merged body, what ability do we have to stop the new owners seeking to switch business from London to Frankfurt? How long would any assurances that London will remain the larger market and the HQ last for?
There are good competition grounds to refer the planned merger and consider blocking the bid. The two markets combined will have large shares of EU equity and bond trading. There are issues about access to capital especially for smaller companies.
Mrs May proposed a new policy to protect important national assests from foreign take over. How does the Stock Exchange fit into the new policy?