Project Heather update

Stock exchange team bolstered amid speculation of delays

Tomas Carruthers of Project Heather at Scottish parliament

Tomas Carruthers: leading the project (pic: Terry Murden)

Scotland’s proposed stock exchange has hired a head of market operations as it shrugs off speculation that the project is behind schedule.

Project Heather, the steering group, has appointed Andy Clarkson as head of market operations to oversee all operational aspects of trading, clearing and settlement activities.

The announcement follows the sudden and unannounced departure of Simon Langman, head of media services. It is understood another key staff member has left.

The team recently moved to a new head office in George Street, Edinburgh where it plans to build a team of up to 45. The company behind the project is said to be late in filing its accounts and is still negotiating with the Financial Conduct Authority despite saying it expected to launch this year. It has declined to comment, but one source close to the project said the discussions were progressing.

Mr Clarkson will working with member firms, technology partners and vendors and “will ensure quality and integrity across our processes and platforms”.

Mr Clarkson will work with Helen Webster, chief operating officer, in bringing the exchange to operational readiness. One of his initial roles will be to oversee the acceptance testing of the proposed exchange’s trading platform.

He brings 30 years’ experience in asset management to the role, leading teams covering transaction management, asset servicing, provider oversight and market operations at Scottish Widows Investment Partnership, Aberdeen Asset Management and Aberdeen Standard Investments, where he was also head of market operations.

Ms Webster said: “We look forward to announcing further appointments as the Project Heather team continues to grow.”

Tomas Carruthers, who is leading Project Heather, told a gathering at the Scottish Parliament in the summer that partner Euronext, which operates a number of bourses around Europe, had “nearly walked” over its concerns about Brexit.

Project Heather raised a seven figure sum from business advisers Anderson, Anderson & Brown in March and £750,000 from Scottish Enterprise in May.

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