Cypriot stock exchange interested in setting up derivatives exchange

NICOSIA (Reuters) – Cyprus’s stock exchange is pursuing the creation of a derivatives exchange and a new select market for blue chips, officials said yesterday. The derivatives market will be set up with help from Greece, while a select market – tailored along the lines of the blue chip FTSE/CySE-20 index – is also likely, bourse Vice-Chairman Renos Christodoulides said. The select market would have separate listing requirements from the main market, ranging from minimum share flotation to obligations on the companies to file quarterly results – presently not a requirement for companies included in the main market. Proposed regulations on the operation of the derivatives market were almost ready and would be sent to the Athens Stock Exchange for review. «I am not in a position to say precisely when it will be created…we will be working with the Athens bourse on this matter,» said Christodoulides. Cyprus has been pursuing link-ups with neighboring markets in a bid to attract investment to the region. An initiative for the creation of a Mediterranean regional index between Greece, Cyprus and Egypt with index designer FTSE International had been temporarily put on hold after the September 11 attacks on the USA. The issue would be on the agenda when Athens bourse Chairman Panagiotis Alexakis visits Nicosia next month, Christodoulides said. Many inexperienced investors lost life savings when the all-share index of the bourse rose 688 percent to 881 points in 1999, only to collapse in 2000. In a bid to fill any blanks in investors’ minds about the market, the bourse said it would run classes for beginners starting December 1. «We hope that at the conclusion of these seminars, investors will be adequately briefed about the market,» Christodoulides said. The market ended 0.33 percent higher yesterday, at 146.28 points. It was allegedly a significant conduit for dirty cash and a major reason why Cyprus earned an unwanted reputation of being a money-laundering center.

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