LSE says it may fire compliance staff to cut costs

THE London Stock Exchange (LSE) may start firing its own compliance staff to force down costs in line with rivals unless regulators create a level playing field, it said yesterday.

LSE chief executive Xavier Rolet said the London bourse and rival

Chi-X Europe were roughly level in terms of market share in equities trading of about 22 per cent in Europe as a whole.

However, Rolet said the LSE has 150 compliance staff and also pays the regulators such as the Financial Services Authority (FSA) €5m (£4.5m) a year in fees, while Chi-X has three to five compliance staff and pays €140,000.

“Our compliance staff exceeds the total headcount of BATS, Chi-X and Turquoise together. Something is going to have to give,” Rolet told the Reuters Exchanges and Trading Summit in London.

Rolet added: “We are at the moment telling the regulators we are going to start firing people,” Rolet told the delegates.

He continued: “You can say as long as you want the level playing field is equal, which we don’t agree with – they pay €140,000 and we pay €5m for the same activities. It’s clearly not a level playing field.”