ECONOMY

Athens Stock Exchange must consider reorganizing itself in this time of crisis

The crisis we face, which goes far beyond a mere stock market crisis, will have effects that will stay with us for a long time. What all investors must understand is that the crisis does not merely concern stock prices. It forces all market players to take decisions and measures that affect them – the way they think, act, and weigh the future. The Athens Stock Exchange is such a player, and must seriously consider reorganizing itself. A small regional stock exchange, with a small transaction volume and with listed companies that do not attract much capital cannot have serious reasons to continue to exist. No stock market ignored by the vast majority of investors can. The crisis afflicting the ASE predates the terrorist strikes and the global economic slowdown. Furthermore, the amount of capital invested in other markets, such as bonds, mutual funds, repos, even savings accounts, is huge. This indicates that the investors are no longer willing to undertake the same risks. This need to limit risk requires an adaptation on the part of the ASE. In this age, bourses around the world compete in the same way businesses do. The ASE must join the competition which, among other things, seeks to attract the best businesses. And the best businesses are those that, either through sheer volume or through the quality of their financial results, offer not only the prospect of profits on the bourse but also offer the reassurance of a soft landing during lean times. In this case, the number of trapped investors holding worthless shares is minimized. All stock exchanges, even the most important, are considering the new measures to be taken. The ASE cannot afford to be an exception. The Athens bourse benchmark general index eased 0.99 percent to 2,249.59 points, after gaining 2.18 percent on Thursday. Blue chips on the FTSE/ASE-20 index fell 0.64 percent to 1,259.76 points and mid-caps retreated 1.26 percent.