The Belgrade and Ljubljana stock exchanges have confirmed their intention to join SEE Link, a regional platform for trading securities listed on the Bulgarian, Croatian and Macedonian bourses, supported by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The agreement was signed at the Western Balkans Investment Summit in London, a high-level event hosted by the EBRD on February 22.
SEE Link is a project started by the Bulgarian, Macedonian and Croatian stock exchanges with the objective of creating a regional infrastructure for the trading of securities listed on the three markets. The idea behind this cross border initiative is to integrate regional equities markets without a merger or corporate integration, using technology that will enable participating stock exchanges to remain independent while still giving investors easier and more efficient access to those markets through a local broker.
The three exchanges founded the SEE Link company in May 2014. The joint stock company is seated in Macedonia, with three exchanges holding an equal share in its ownership.
An EBRD press release says that the expansion of the project will help integrate regional equity markets to provide more efficient access for investors and local brokers while at the same time allowing participating stock exchanges to remain independent.
“After Belgrade and Ljubljana we look forward to welcoming more new participants in the future,” said EBRD president Suma Chakrabarti.
“We are very pleased that Belgrade and Ljubljana Stock Exchanges will be joining the project. This will certainly contribute to the attractiveness of this platform, the first in Europe that helps connect markets to investors in an innovative way,” said Ivana Gazic, president of the Zagreb Stock Exchange management board.
Ivan Steriev, CEO of the Macedonian Stock Exchange, added: “For many years, establishing a regional network of stock exchanges was one of our priorities. Thanks to the EBRD’s support this goal has now been achieved and we believe in the success of the platform.”
“Preliminary interest expressed by investors is very encouraging and we believe it will eventually increase,” said Ivan Takev, CEO of the Bulgarian Stock Exchange.
According to the EBRD press release, the platform will become fully operational at the end of March.
The EBRD supported the project with a €540,000 grant to establish an electronic system for order-routing. In parallel, participating stock exchanges extended €80,000 in capital. Funding for SEE Link was provided by EBRD donors through the EBRD Shareholders Special Fund, according to the SEE Link website.The next step in the project is to create a technical solution for order-routing, which is planned to be realized in 2016.
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