Rolet Must Sling His Hook

Daily Mail (London), March 30, 2017 | Go to article overview

Rolet Must Sling His Hook


Byline: Alex Brummer CITY EDITOR

THE humiliating failure of the effort by Deutsche Boerse to effect a 'merger of equals' with the London Stock Exchange should not be a cost-free exercise for the architects of this deal.

LSE chief executive Xavier Rolet and his opposite number at the Frankfurt exchange, Carsten Kengeter, should hang their heads in shame in pursuing a grandiose merger plan which was always doomed.

Millions of pounds of investor funds have been wasted on advisory and legal fees and management time, which could have been better used on building the enterprises.

Rolet could have been deployed to win initial public offerings in London, which have virtually ground to a halt.

Kengeter might usefully have spent his time better understanding rules, regulations and laws governing insider trading. How could Kengeter even be considered a 'fit and proper' boss of the merged exchange while allegations of wrongful trading were outstanding? The supreme irony about the failure of the PS21bn deal is that it was blocked by the European competition commissioner on the day Theresa May delivered her Article 50 letter signalling Britain's formal start of negotiations to leave the EU. When the deal was unveiled early last year, much was made of the formation of a 'referendum committee' designed to steer the deal through the shoals ahead.

Instead, the leaders of both exchanges managed to navigate the transaction directly on to the rocks. They badly misread the politics, launched clumsily aimed missiles at potential rival bidders and were overconfident that they were smart enough to overcome competition obstacles.

All of which suggests a degree of incompetence from executives at the heart of their respective financial systems, which makes their hold on office untenable.

There will be shareholders ready to defend the LSE boss Rolet on the grounds of his past record, having increased the value of the LSE's shares several times.

Indeed, the former Lehman trader was responsible for updating the LSE's technology and taking it in new directions through a series of acquisitions which immeasurably improved its data and trading capabilities. …

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