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Switzerland lifts ban, and London will resume trading Swiss stocks

Michael Shields and Huw Jones
·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: Buildings are seen in the Canary Wharf business district, amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in London

By Michael Shields and Huw Jones

ZURICH/LONDON (Reuters) - Britain can now claim at least one advantage from leaving the European Union: Switzerland's government will permit Swiss stocks to trade on London's markets again.

Trading will resume on Thursday after Switzerland lifted a 19-month ban on Wednesday. That will partly make up for the City of London's loss of euro share trading to the EU last month after Britain completed is departure from the bloc.

Brussels stopped EU investors from trading on Swiss exchanges in June 2019 after a treaty row. Switzerland then banned EU exchanges from trading Swiss shares.

But Britain is no longer bound by EU rules since its full departure from the bloc, and the countries are working to rebuild bilateral ties. Switzerland is not a member of the EU, and on Wednesday, the Swiss financial markets supervisor FINMA said https://www.finma.ch/en/news/2021/02/20210203-meldung-uk-handelsplaetze trading could resume.

The return of Swiss trading will be a small boon for London's equity markets. Brexit caused more than 6 billion euros ($7.21 billion) worth of daily share trading in EU stocks to leave London for platforms in Amsterdam and Paris on Jan. 4.

Before the EU ban, London platforms handled around 1.2 billion euros daily in Swiss shares, or about 27% of the total volume, Cboe Europe figures showed. The roster of shares that can trade include names like Nestle and Novartis.

Cboe Europe, Aquis Exchange and London Stock Exchange's Turquoise said they would start offering trading in Swiss shares in London on Thursday.

"The recent agreement between the UK and Switzerland on stock exchange equivalence is a welcome development," Turquoise CEO Robert Barnes said.

"It will enhance liquidity and trading efficiencies in hundreds of securities to the benefit of issuers and investors in both financial centres."

Swiss stock exchange operator SIX hailed the news.

"We've always supported open and international capital markets, and it's in the interests of national and international investors," SIX Chairman Thomas Wellauer said in a statement.

"The mutual recognition of equivalence will permit a healthy exchange and competition between the major financial centres in Switzerland and the UK."

(Reporting by Michael Shields in Zurich and Huw Jones in London; editing by Rachel Armstrong, Jason Neely, Larry King)