FSA permits five firms to compete with LSE's service

The Financial Services Authority has revealed the first wave of

firms allowed to compete with the London Stock Exchange's Regulatory

News Service (RNS).



But the FSA this week confirmed rival firms could come forward to run

for primary information provider (PIP) status at any time.



PIMS, Business Wire, PRNewswire, Newslink and the RNS itself have passed

the first stage of the FSA's approval process, which is set to end the

LSE's monopoly on the provision of price-sensitive company announcements

from listed firms.



Three of the previously confirmed potential PIPs - Waymaker, Hugin

Online and PR Line - declined to go through the initial auditing

process, in which they must meet criteria including adequate security

and transparent pricing.



But the FSA said companies can still come forward to apply for PIP

approval: 'Those companies that have not yet come forward for the audit

process can do so at a later date - there is no time restriction,' said

FSA spokesman Patrick Humphris.



Waymaker is expected to apply for approval within weeks.



Humphris said the first wave of potential PIPs cleared to continue will

now go through an independent audit process before a final decision by

the FSA board later this month.



The FSA aims to introduce the new competitive PIP system on 2 April.



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