EDITORIAL: LSE must put end to complacency

Ask a foreigner to name the most quintessentially British

institutions and, next to the monarchy, Beefeaters and London Red Buses,

he or she is likely to cite the London Stock Exchange, and associated

City institutions - an unfortunate perception given the LSE's stated

desire to dominate the European marketplace.

In fact, in tackling the transformation of the LSE's image, one of

Financial Dynamics' most urgent tasks will be to cast off its unerring

domestic associations and the air of complacency. For too long the LSE

has lived off the glories of its 200-year history.

The failed merger with Deutsche Borse, and even the failed takeover

attempt by Sweden's OM group have only succeeded in underlining the

LSE's relative isolation.

There is now a greater willingness to embrace the new technologies that

have in recent years given the European exchanges such a head start and

blocked certain alliances.

And the LSE is finally shaking off its seeming reluctance to market its

offerings, with a series of roadshows aimed at encouraging overseas

funds to invest in companies listed on techMark and AIM.

But there lingers a perception of the LSE as an antiquated 'old boys

club', rife with factionalism.

The LSE's latest CEO Clara Furse has already broken with tradition by

the sheer fact of being female, but there are plenty of other sacred

cows that need to be sacrificed before the LSE is perceived as a

commercially managed business run for the benefit of its shareholders

and customers.

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