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Capital Markets

Australia: Exchange merger champion pays for success

As stock exchange consolidation catches on around the world, it’s sobering to note the lessons of the Australian experience.

By Chris Wright

One person with mixed feelings about the whole trend will be Australian Stock Exchange chief executive Tony D’Aloisio or, rather, its former chief executive, since he was ousted last month as a consequence of his own deal.

In March, the ASX and the Sydney Futures Exchange announced a plan to merge. It had been mooted on numerous occasions and formally attempted in April 1999, only to be knocked back by the regulator, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. By March this year, though, the global trend towards consolidation had become undeniable and the regulator indicated that it would let the deal through in the national interest.

Reason

At various times over the past 10 years both sides had been keen for a merger but this time it was driven by D’Aloisio, the former head of Australian top-drawer law firm Mallesons Stephen Jaques and only a year and a half into the ASX job. D’Aloisio knew the merger would make sense, with very obvious efficiencies of scale, but crucially he had managed to get informal agreement from the ACCC not to block the deal. It stood to reason, and had always been part of the plan, that he would run the merged exchange.

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