Liffe and London Clearing House appoint Lazards as adviser

THE LONDON International Futures and Options Exchange (Liffe) and the London Clearing House (LCH) have moved closer to a merger by appointing Lazard Brothers as their adviser. Last month the two exchanges said they were in talks to boost co-operation, but denied that they had any immediate plans to merge. Last month Liffe said it would bring forward the introduction of its new CONNECT electronic trading system to compete with the Frankfurt- based Eurex exchange's faster and cheaper system.

The Liffe chairman, Brian Williamson, and LCH's chief executive, David Hardy, had "consulted our boards and both agree that we should now move ahead by taking expert advice on the best ways of working together to enhance customer service," said Mr Williamson. "We aim to reach some conclusions shortly."

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