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Deadline looms for new exchange

WITH more than a year of discussion behind them there now is an element of urgency for backers hoping to get a new stock exchange operational before the Financial Services Reform Bill is enacted on March 11 next year.

A revised proposal for three separate exchanges under the umbrella of the Australian Pacific Exchange (APX) has been put before the Australian Securities and Investment Commission, which is expected to hand down its decision within the next two months.

If the ASIC stalls proceedings, implementation of the new exchange could be held up further, the main proponent of the exchange MCS Property man-aging director and APX director Julius Colmon told Business News. To what extent the FSRB could hamper the project is unknown but some amendments to the proposal regarding stock clearing procedures will be required.

Mr Colmon pioneered the formation of a number of Exempt Markets operated by Austock Brokers following the demutualisation of the Australian Stock Exchange in 1998, which opened the way for the emergence of specialist stock exchanges.

Austock now plans to “reverse dump” the Exempt markets into the newly formed APX, which will have a primary focus on property syndicates while also being able to deal with fixed interest and equities not overseen by the ASX.

When it begins operation, the APX could have more than $600 million listed, with the potential to eventually grab the lion’s share of the $4.7 billion property syndicate industry.

Property Investment Research director Anton Lawrence believes the sector could double over the next decade. Already it has grown from just $600 million four years ago.

Mr Lawrence said that, while only two property syndicators, MCS Property and APN Funds Management, were using the Exempt Markets, the new exchange could potentially attract up to 70 per cent of the industry.

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