Traders at the Frankfurt stock exchange
Traders at the Frankfurt stock exchange - 
Listen To The Story


Doug Krizner: A new era for European investors dawns today. Or at least that's the hope of the European Union. New rules take effect aimed at making it easier to trade stock across Europe. From London, Stephen Beard reports.

Stephen Beard: The change could be momentous. The new measure is designed to create one single European market for share-trading.

Investors anywhere in Europe should be able pick up the phone and buy shares direct from banks and brokers in other E.U. countries, bypassing the big national stock exchanges. The aim is to cut dealing costs, and to promote more cross-border investing.

But, says Andrew Hilton of the CSFI think tank, it could be bad news for the big exchanges in London, Frankfurt and Paris:

Andrew Hilton: Well, it could undermine all established exchanges by permitting individual investment banks -- or anybody else -- to set up alternatives outside the main national exchanges.

But nothing is certain about the effect of the new measure. Half a dozen E.U. member states are still dragging their feet over compliance.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.