Stronger rules pledged as Plus given revamp

MICHAEL Spencer’s broking giant ICAP yesterday announced a facelift for the junior stock market Plus, and promised that higher standards would be required from companies aiming to trade on it.

Plus was yesterday renamed the ICAP Securities and Derivatives Exchange (ISDX), following ICAP’s purchase of the exchange in June.

The acquisition process for the exchange was wrought with controversy and ICAP was forced to up its price from a paltry £1 to £500,000 after shareholders voiced their anger at the deal.

ICAP said it had ensured increased liquidity in the new market by signing up market makers Peel Hunt and Shore Capital. The ICAP Group’s chief executive Michael Spencer said he was “pleased that ICAP is providing small and medium enterprises with a well-run and well-supported listings venue” while ISDX’s head Seth Johnson promised higher standards of disclosure and governance.

Johnson said he would introduce a “points scoring system” next year to establish if firms were suitable for listing. “We are raising the bar for companies listed on the exchange. The 133 companies already listed will have time to pull their socks up. If they don’t, they’ll be forced to leave,” he added.