Despite the fact that the major stock exchanges in Europe have divided into separate camps, the original pan-European alliance that brought the heads of eight equity markets together is still in place.
In fact, sources say the pan-European allies are still on schedule to roll out a common application programming interface (API)-which will inter-connect the remaining disparate trading engines used by the original members of the partnership-by November. Most significantly, the common API will for the first time provide equity participants with a single access point for tapping into both the Deutsche Borse's (DB) Xetra and the SBF Paris Bourse's NSC-two of the most popular stock trading engines in Europe.
The pan-European talks, of course, got started nearly two years ago, when the DB and the London Stock Exchange held discussions about consolidating their trading systems for blue-chip stocks. Shortly after that, the discussions were expanded to include the heads of stock Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Zurich, Milan and Madrid. The ultimate goal, the collective exchanges stated, was to adopt a single pan-European trading platform for trading all blue-chip stocks.
But earlier this year, a triumvirate of stock exchanges in Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam agreed to a merger, dubbed EuroNext, that called for them to adopt a single trading engine and a standard clearing system. The SBF Paris Bourse's NSC will eventually serve as the trading platform for all three markets, and all trades executed over NSC will be cleared through SBF's Clearing 21 software.
And more recently, of course, the London Stock Exchange and the Deutsche Borse grabbed headlines when they agreed to form iX, a new entity that will consolidate the two largest equity markets in Europe. As part of that deal, the full complement of British and German blue-chip stocks will be traded over the DB's Xetra.
But in spite of their apparent separation, the partners in EuroNext and iX claim they are still working together to meet some common goals. One of the top things on their agenda, says the DB spokesperson, is the roll out of a common API--which the allies initially agreed to last September. The exchanges, he says, fully expect the API to go live by November.