Exchange to contract out Topic

THE London Stock Exchange announced yesterday that it is contracting out its Topic and Topicline information services to two companies, Woking-based ICV and Telekurs, which is owned by a consortium of Swiss banks, writes John Willcock.

The exchange also said that share settlement charges for big institutions in London are to fall by at least 10 per cent because they will no longer have to help fund development of the Taurus computerised settlement system, abandoned earlier this year. The cut will happen after the Talisman system, which forms the heart of institutional share settlement in the City, has reduced its charges.

The moves were given the go-ahead at a meeting of the exchange's full board, the first since the Taurus fiasco, which cost the City an estimated pounds 400m. Andrew Hugh Smith, chairman of the exchange, insisted that previous suggestions of a revolt by member institutions, demanding a radical reduction of the exchange's responsibilities following the Taurus flop, had failed to materialise.

Mr Hugh Smith did, however, say that the exchange was looking at incorporating parts of the American Nasdaq over-the-counter share trading system for its proposed modification of London's own Seaq trading mechanism. The market would also press ahead with its own designs, helped by the management consultants Arthur Andersen.

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