Stock Exchange climbs down on Internet deals

The London Stock Exchange yesterday made a humiliating climb-down in its dispute with Sharelink, the private client stockbroker, and its partner, Electronic Share Information. After an acrimonious dispute lasting more than two weeks it has agreed to resume the supply of price data for the two firms' share-trading service via the Internet.

The Exchange withdrew its pricing information agreement just as the product was about to launch after telling ESI and Sharelink that it had unilaterally altered the contract.

That decision led to complaints from the two firms who argued that the LSE was exploiting its monopoly powers.

The dispute also led to the Exchange taking the highly unusual decision to issue defamation proceedings against Sharelink's chief executive, David Jones, for comments he made about the affair in a radio broadcast.

Yesterday the Exchange said that it had agreed to withdraw its libel action against Mr Jones and also said that it had decided not to go ahead with any disciplinary procedures against the company which it had earlier threatened.

Mr Jones said yesterday: "Sharelink is pleased that it has been possible to resolve the dispute between the Exchange and ESI. I regret that this has ever become an issue and am happy to join fully in the statements made by ESI. The new Internet service represents an important step forward for the development of the private investor sharedealing and information services."

ESI had asked the Office of Fair Trading to investigate the situation and had several meetings about the matter with OFT representatives. Yesterday ESI said it was writing to the OFT to withdraw its request for an investigation of the Exchange's conduct. Dr Hermann Hauser, founder of ESI, also confirmed ESI had withdrawn its allegations that the Exchange had acted in breach of its agreements with ESI.

In an about-turn from the earlier position, the Exchange's chief executive Michael Lawrence made a statement saying: "The Exchange is pleased to be involved in the development of a service which will increase the range of choice available to private investors."

The Exchange said it welcomed Dr Hauser's statement and said that it had reached agreement with ESI with a view to ensuring that ESI's Internet service could be provided on an on-going basis.

Sources said last week that the LSE had tried to encourage ESI to find another partner other than Sharelink but that this strategy had failed when ESI made it clear that it would stick with its intended partner.

There have been problems in the past between the Exchange and Mr Jones. Last year Mr Jones spent some six months as a board member, during which time it is said there were frequent clashes between him and other board members over strategy. He has since argued that the Exchange has not fully represented the views of the private investor, preferring to concentrate on the demands of the larger institutions.

Meanwhile, APCIMS, which represents private client stockbrokers, said that it had protested to the government about the charging policy issued by Crestco, the company developing the new share settlement system. The group says that every deal of under pounds 4,000 or smaller where investors keep their share certificates will cost more to settle under the Crest system than it does under Talisman, the present Stock Exchange settlement system. It adds that under the new system individual investors will lose out while institutional investors will gain. APCIMS says the cost of an investor keeping his name on a company's register under the new system of sponsored membership looks likely to cost much more than expected. It calls for the new proposed charges to be investigated by the OFT.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Financial Controller

£45 - £55k DOE: Guru Careers: A Financial Controller is required to join a suc...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant / Telemarketer - OTE £20,000

£12500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Adviser - OTE £24,500

£22500 - £24500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Inbound and outbound calls with...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £40,000

£18000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing Insurance Bro...

Day In a Page

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'