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When shareholder value conflicts with shareholder utility

Deutsche Börse’s move to take full control of international central securities depository Clearstream highlights the divergence between banks, exchanges and clearers that would like to see an integrated utility-style system of settlement for European securities markets and those exchanges such as Deutsche Börse that see such operations as a way of generating value for their own shareholders.

Leading securities firms in Europe have strongly opposed Deutsche Börse's decision to reject Euroclear's bid for the German exchange's stake in Clearstream, the international central securities depository (ICSD) that provides clearing and settlement for bonds and equities in Europe. Many securities firms saw a merger of Euroclear and Clearstream as a highly desirable move towards creating the infrastructure of a true European securities market. For securities dealers, operating in a series of national markets has been costly and inefficient because of a lack of integration of clearing and settlement systems.


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What's worse, Deutsche Börse now intends to assert 100% control over Clearstream.

The affair highlights a conflict between those pursuing a vision of an integrated European securities market and newly floated European exchanges set on delivering value to shareholders. In the first camp the European Securities Forum (ESF) is prominent.

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