Chris Tupker, chairman of European clearing house LCH.Clearnet, will step down as chairman of the group and its UK subsidiary, LCH.Clearnet Ltd, in 2010 once a new chairman has been appointed.
LCH said in a statement that it had formed a search committee and hopes to announce the appointment of a new chairman by the end of this year.
Tupker’s departure comes amid a challenging time for the clearer, whose future ownership is still undecided. Merger talks with US post-trade utility The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) broke down at the end of April, and LCH reportedly rejected an €830 million offer made by a consortium of brokers, including UK inter-dealer broker ICAP, in May.
LCH is also thought to have considered buying out its shareholders, and is now rumoured to be discussing buying out shareholders in cooperation with the broker consortium.
In addition, LCH faces mounting competition from the new clearers established to serve the multilateral trading facilities established since MiFID came into force in 2007. These include DTCC subsidiary EuroCCP, which clears for Turquoise, SmartPool, NYSE Arca Europe and Pipeline, and EMCF, which clears for Chi-X Europe, Nasdaq OMX Europe, BATS Europe and Quote MTF.
Last Tuesday, EuroCCP announced a new tiered fee schedule, effective from 1 October, which will charge high-volume users €0.002 a side and lowest-volume users €0.03 a side. On the same day LCH.Clearnet SA, the group’s French subsidiary, announced it would move to a fixed fee structure from a value-based tariff and cut its charge for clearing blue-chip equity trades to €0.05.
LCH.Clearnet Ltd is the main central counterparty for the London Stock Exchange, while LCH.Clearnet SA clears for NYSE Euronext’s European exchanges in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Portugal.