Project Heather

Stock Exchange board hires due as CEO insists project is ‘on plan’

Tomas Carruthers at parliament
On schedule: Tomas Carruthers (pic: Terry Murden)

Scotland’s proposed new stock exchange is due to unveil two board members, possibly a chairman, as the chief executive of the steering group insists it remains on schedule.

Tomas Carruthers, who is leading Project Heather, told a gathering in Edinburgh that testing is under way with key partner Euronext and that talks with the Financial Conduct Authority are ongoing.

There has been speculation that the project has slipped behind schedule, but addressing those attending a meeting in Fountainbridge, he said: “We are in the hands of the FCA. The relationship has been productive but they will decide when we are authorised.”

Speaking to Daily Business, Mr Carruthers said he was satisfied with progress and explained that a delay in filing the company’s accounts was because a key recruit who would have been responsible had decided not to relocate to Scotland.

He said the London Stock Exchange was supporting the project and that progress was being made with Euronext’s systems. In June he told a meeting of parliamentarians at Holyrood that Euronext had threatened to pull out over the Brexit uncertainties.

Two key staff have left but the team was bolstered this week with the hiring of a head of market operations to oversee all operational aspects of trading, clearing and settlement activities.

The project team recently moved to a new head office in George Street. The Scottish Stock Exchange will be the first since 1973. A Glasgow artist has been asked to design a bell.

Mr Carruthers told the meeting that Scotland needed to give its companies access to capital beyond bank lending and private equity. The Scottish Stock Exchange will require issuers to meet environmental impact standards.

Also addressing the meeting, Sandy Adam, executive chairman of housebuilder Springfield Properties, outlined the company’s decision to float in 2017 and said that if the Scottish Stock Exchange had been operational “it would have been an option”.

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