Search starts for chief executive to run rival London exchange

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The Independent Online

Project Turquoise has appointed Armstrong International to recruit a chief executive and other senior staff for the planned pan-European stock exchange.

Armstrong, which specialises in providing staff to the financial services industry, is set to conduct an international search for what could be one of the most high-profile roles in European financial services. The headhunter is well known to the investment banks behind Project Turquoise, because it is often used by them to recruit staff.

The company is set to consider candidates from Europe and the US. It is expected that the candidate will have at least some experience with technology and trading systems.

Project Turquoise is being set up by seven investment banks who say they are unhappy with the fees they pay to exchanges across Europe. They are Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and UBS.

Between them, they account for 55 per cent of trading volumes over the London Stock Exchange.

Turquoise is planning to launch in the wake of the European Mifid directive, which will require brokers to seek the best possible share prices for their clients or "best execution".

Nasdaq has sought to use the launch of Turquoise as part of its bid to persuade investors to accept its hostile £12.43-a-share offer for the LSE, even though it is below the current trading price.

However, the LSE has pointed out that it has already sharply cut fees for member firms by the equivalent of £8.20 for every £1,000 traded and said it is confident it can meet any challenge. Yesterday its shares finished at £13.12, up 5p and comfortably above the offer price.

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