Amsterdam surpasses London as Europe’s top share trading hub

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Amsterdam emerged as Europe’s largest share trading centre in January, dislodging London from its historic position as the Netherlands scooped up businesses lost by the United Kingdom after Brexit, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday.

An average 9.2 billion euros ($11.16 billion) shares were traded a day on Euronext Amsterdam and the Dutch arms of CBOE Europe and Turquoise in January, a more than fourfold increase from December, the report added.

($1 = 0.8245 euros)

The shift was prompted by a ban on EU-based financial institutions trading in London because Brussels has not recognised UK exchanges and trading venues as having the same supervisory status as its own. Without this so-called equivalence to ease cross-border dealing, there was an immediate shift of €6.5bn of deals to the EU when the Brexit transition period concluded at the end of last year. It was about half of the amount of business that London banks and brokers would normally handle.

Analysts and executives say the transfer would not mean thousands of jobs leaving London, while the tax hit would be limited to the effects the move in trading would have on the profits of companies involved, they said. Financial services contributed almost £76bn in tax receipts to the UK Treasury last year.

“It’s symbolic in that London has lost its status as the home of EU share trading, but it has a chance to carve out its own niche on trading,” said Anish Puaar, a market structure analyst at Rosenblatt Securities in London.

“Fund managers will be more concerned with availability of liquidity and the costs of placing a trade, rather than whether an order is executed in London or Amsterdam,” Puaar added.

Paris and Dublin also had small increases in business last month as trading funnelled through the EU arms of Aquis and Liquidnet respectively, rather than through London. In response, London has lifted a prohibition on trading of Swiss stocks, such as Nestlé and Roche, which is currently banned on EU exchanges.

Still, the large move in share trading to Amsterdam makes the city one of the early winners from Brexit.

Since the start of the year, Amsterdam has also picked up activity in swaps and sovereign debt markets that would typically have taken place in London before Brexit.

CBOE Europe is setting up a derivatives trading business in the Dutch capital in the first half of the year.

US-based Intercontinental Exchange is also planning to move the €1bn-a-day carbon emissions trading market to the Netherlands, although clearing will remain in London.