Friday, February 11, 2011

TMX/LSE Merger

Is the proposed merger between the principal stock exchanges of Britain and Canada in our best interests? Right out of the gate most commentators made the claim that it is simply what we should expect out of the ever-increasing global economy. Any thoughts that the Prime Minister and his government may intervene to put the brakes on the merger of Canada’s TMX Group Inc. (TMX) and Britain’s London Stock Exchange PLC (LSE) seems out of the question at this point. On the long haul I am not so sure.

There is no question that Canada will surrender more control than the Brits. And who can imagine the Brits surrendering control of their principal equities? Turning over control of our financial interests and especially securities regulation to another country seems not to be in our interests. Tight regulation of our banking sector diminished the effect of the recent recession. A fact proudly proclaimed by the Prime Minister. The same principles of regulation should apply to this proposed merger.

Canadian politicians intervened to stop the sale of Potash Corp. and stopped plans to sell our famed Canadarm assets to US interests. These moves by our government were widely approved by Canadians. Is it time for our government to once again step in to protect Canadian interests?

I may be out on the limb on this issue, but this proposed TMX/LSE merger is not a done deal. I am suspect of LSE’s track record on mergers and so too should be our government and Canadians. We need to ask what will be the long-term benefits for Canada? Is it in our interests?