Wind of change at ASE

The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) is planning measures to boost stock market liquidity, strengthen investor confidence and market transparency, and modernize Hellenic Exchanges, its parent holding company, with a view to offering better value for its services, ASE President Spyros Kapralos said on Saturday. Speaking at a conference on the subject of «Prospects and Plans for the Development of the Athens Stock Exchange in Post-Olympic Greece,» part of the MoneyShow event, he said the prospects are now much more favorable for investors in the Greek capital market. «In post-Olympic Greece, all improvements and macroeconomic achievements have contributed to creating a favorable environment for investors. Besides, Greece’s position is now strategic for the markets and enterprises of Southeastern Europe, particularly those of the Balkans,» Kapralos said. Such improvements include cuts in corporate taxes, incentives for mergers and the holding of balanced and equity mutual funds by investors. He also noted the significant strengthening of the positions of foreign institutionals in Greek shares, which now represent almost 42 percent of total blue chip capitalization. Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas, who also spoke at the conference, said the government is making valiant efforts to bolster the entrepreneurial environment by cutting red tape, reducing the tax burden, liberalizing markets and introducing new investment incentives with small and medium-sized enterprises particularly in mind. The Development Ministry this week will announce the details of new licensing regulations for firms, with major cuts in red tape.