Bill aims at liberalizing markets

The government on Tuesday unveiled a draft bill that would clear the path for new organized securities markets, ending the Athens bourse’s monopoly status ahead of its full privatization. «The privatization of the Athens Stock Exchange… naturally leads to the liberalization of the market and a new framework for establishing and operating new securities markets in Greece,» an introductory note on the draft bill said. The government wants to sell its remaining 33.3 percent stake in Hellenic Exchanges to raise cash, bolstering the government’s privatization program. It sets a minimum share capital requirement of 20 million euros for securities markets, with licenses to be granted by the securities regulator, the Capital Market Commission, which assumes more regulatory power. Once voted into law, the bill will end the current practice of Hellenic Exchanges’s board of directors being appointed by the finance minister. Providing for a 12-month transition phase, it stipulates that Hellenic Exchanges shareholders are to pick management. (Reuters)