Finance chiefs review ASX services

The most senior leaders in Australia's financial markets gathered at the stock exchange on Wednesday for the first of a series of meetings on the country's clearing and settlement services.

The most senior leaders in Australia's financial markets gathered at the stock exchange on Wednesday for the first of a series of meetings on the country's clearing and settlement services.

It was the first such meeting held at the Australian Securities Exchange since the Gillard government decided in February to defer a decision for two years on opening up the ASX's cash equities clearing services to competition.

The local chief executives of Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, UBS and HSBC Australia were there, as were the former Treasury secretary and now ASX board member Ken Henry, and ASX boss Elmer Funke Kupper.

The agenda included a discussion about the profitability of the ASX's clearing services, an overview of the operational performance of its clearing and settlement services, and a discussion of regulatory issues facing the industry.

John Fildes, chief executive of Chi-X Australia, a rival to the ASX, said it was a good first meeting. "It was good to have a large number of important people in the room," he said.

"There were a large number of people there who are keen to see the market operate more efficiently, and who are willing to hold the ASX to account in that regard."

Stockbrokers Association of Australia chief executive David Horsfield said it was good to talk about the ASX's accounts.

"Elmer [Funke Kupper] did a great job chairing it ... and the charter of the forum was endorsed."

The forum's next meeting is scheduled for April.

A spokesman also said the ASX was committed to staying at its Bridge Street office until 2017, when its tenancy arrangements come up for renewal.

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