PLUS Markets Group, the rival to AIM, the London Stock Exchange small cap market, has completed a placing that raised ?25 million. The exchange says it will use the proceeds to fund a further expansion of its trading and quotation services.
“PLUS Markets Group has evolved rapidly over the last two years,” says Simon Brickles, Chief Executive Officer. “The proposals that we have announced today represent a sea change in the scale of our operations. The placing will enable us to fund a further substantial extension of our trading and quotation services including into more liquid securities.”
PLUS Markets is in the course of seeking Recognised Investment Exchange (RIE) status from the FSA, with the aim of achieving it during the second quarter of 2007. Its management argues that developments taking place in European equity markets are likely to provide significant new business opportunities for the exchange, as a result of exchange consolidation and the changing regulatory framework under MiFID.
The company intends to invest in its regulatory and technical infrastructure, including new trading technology, to facilitate trading between a wider range of market participants in a wider range of securities; new listing products following the achievement of RIE status; and expansion of its trading services to allow investment firms to meet their execution, reporting and transparency needs under MiFID in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
As well as a strengthened balance sheet, the Board is also being strengthened with the appointment of four new Directors, to support executive operations and to benefit from the non-executive expertise of two former directors of the London Stock Exchange. “The new appointments to our Board will ensure that we have the leadership necessary to develop into a fully competitive stock exchange for London, ” says Brickles.
The announcement of a successful placing comes almost exactly twelve months after PLUS Markets first raised additional funds. 46 brokers and 7 market makers are now members of the PLUS market. The market has hosted over 460,000 bargains in the last twelve months. 5 billion shares worth over ?2.6 billion have changed hands on PLUS in the same period.