Athens-Nicosia stock market union looks likely to be delayed

NICOSIA (Reuters) – Stockbrokers in Cyprus said yesterday they had received insufficient information on a planned linkup with the Athens Stock Exchange that is now likely to be delayed from its launch date in less than a month. The linkup, designed to create a common trading platform between the markets of Greece and Cyprus, was expected to come on stream in January, but there are increasing signs authorities will miss that target. Akis Kleanthous, the Cyprus bourse chairman, told Reuters last week that a delay in the launch of the platform was possible amid concerns market players were not fully prepared for the transition, but said the bourse itself was virtually ready for implementation. Kleanthous did not specify who he considered not to be fully ready for the linkup, but the reference appeared to anger stockbrokers, who said they could not be held responsible for a delay. «The chairman’s reference to the readiness of the market does not refer to the members of the exchange since they have not been given all the relevant information yet (from the exchange) which is required for them to amend their existing systems,» said Christodoulos Ellinas, chairman of the Association of Financial Services Companies. The stock exchange is scheduled to give a news conference on December 16, where officials are likely to announce a delay to the project.