Poll suggests Exchange merger plan set for defeat

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The Independent Online

The Association of Private Client Investment Managers and Stockbrokers (Apcims) yesterday stepped up its calls for more information on the proposed formation of iX, suggesting that its members may vote against the deal unless more details are released. The call came as the latest survey of voting intentions for London Stock Exchange (LSE) shareholders indicated almost a quarter were against the proposal to merge the LSE with its German rival. To block the merger, 25 per cent of LSE shareholders must oppose it.

The Association of Private Client Investment Managers and Stockbrokers (Apcims) yesterday stepped up its calls for more information on the proposed formation of iX, suggesting that its members may vote against the deal unless more details are released. The call came as the latest survey of voting intentions for London Stock Exchange (LSE) shareholders indicated almost a quarter were against the proposal to merge the LSE with its German rival. To block the merger, 25 per cent of LSE shareholders must oppose it.

The sustained criticism, coupled with the poll's indications, will be of intense concern to senior executives in London and Frankfurt, although an LSE spokesman said the body was confident of approval from its shareholders at their vote on 14 September.

Brian Mairs, spokesman for Apcims, said late yesterday: "We are starting to make some headway but a great deal more must be done." Mr Mairs distanced himself from comments he made earlier in the day, that the vote would go against the LSE if it were held immediately. "That hypothetical, it's too early to say," Mr Mairs said. Apcims, whose members control a substantial portion of LSE stock, says it wants more detail on clearing and settlement arrangements under the new regime. It also has concerns about the impact on the second-tier stocks that would not be included in the main London and Frankfurt markets.

Earlier this week, British and German regulators issued a preliminary memorandum on market control and transparency but said more consultation was needed in some areas. A spokesman for the LSE said officials were pressing the case for a merger with shareholders and holding a programme of customer seminars.

The poll carried out by Bloomberg, the wire service, said that owners of 22 per cent of LSE shares said they would vote against the deal if asked to decide this week. About 31 per cent supported the merger, while the balance were undecided or made no comment.

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