Reuters, which would supply a large portion of the links between the dealers and the Exchange, said the complicated technology needed a clear decision or there could be no commitment to the August timetable put forward by the Exchange. "We won't commit to a date until we can see what the market really wants," said John Parcell, managing director of Reuters UK.
The pressure was stepped up as Reuters introduces today a capacity enabling traders to deal in smaller companies shares directly on the London Stock Exchange through an order-matching system.
This enables the Exchange to fight back against its fledgling rival, Tradepoint, which in September opened the first alternative exchange, using an electronic order-driven system. This automatically and anonymously matches buy and sell orders, cutting out the market-making middlemen who have run the Stock Exchange's traditional quote-driven dealing system.
The Stock Exchange has set 27 August 1996 as the date for introducing a state-of-the-art order-driven capability, which could mean two dealing systems competing for the same stocks. But some of the Exchange's most powerful members, the big market-making firms, are resisting this for fear that it will put them out of business.