Turmoil at Tel Aviv Stock Exchange is over, says CEO

Wed Apr 30, 2014 4:00am EDT

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* Turbulent period began with resignations last July

* Beinart says has good relationship with regulators

By Clare Hutchison

LONDON, April 30 (Reuters) - The upheaval caused by the departures of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange's former chief executive and chairman has ended, allowing the new management to focus on improving performance, its CEO said on Wednesday.

Yossi Beinart, who took charge of Israel's only stock exchange in January, told Reuters the appointment of Amnon Neubach as chairman last month meant the exchange could move on from a turbulent period after Ester Levanon quit last July.

"The turmoil the exchange has been through is over finally and we can get on with our lives and start working," he said.

In her resignation letter, Levanon expressed disappointment that the 60-year-old exchange's board did not back her plan to revive trading volumes.

Saul Bronfeld, who had been chairman since 2006, followed suit a week later, a day after Israel Securities Authority (ISA) Chairman Shmuel Hauser sent a letter to the board saying he had failed in his job.

Beinart said his relationship with the regulator had so far during his tenure been "great".

"They (the regulators) are really supportive, we see them as often as we need to. If something is needed and we have a question, it takes five minutes (to answer)," he said.

LINK WITH DEUTSCHE BOERSE

Beinart, former head of the North American Derivatives Exchange (NADEX), was in London to give an update on its trading cooperation agreement with Deutsche Boerse's Eurex, scheduled to go live on June 9.

Under the agreement, Eurex will list and clear index futures based on TASE's TA-25 index.

"(Israel) is showing a reasonably robust (growth) rate... it is the only advanced economy in the region, so there's a lot of interest from investors in Israel but also outside of Israel to get exposure to the market," Beinart said.

"They can do it in many ways and one of them is to trade a future on the biggest index we have," he added.

Beinart declined to comment on the bourse's plans to build trading volumes, which recovered somewhat in the first quarter of 2014 to 1.3 billion shekels ($374.5 million) a day from 1.1 billion in 2012, but remain well below average daily volume of over 2 billion in 2010.

The TASE will present its proposals on May 12 and respond to recommendations made by an ISA committee, including becoming a for-profit bourse, Beinart said.

"We've worked really hard in the last three months in trying to understand what could be done, what should be done," he said. "We do have a plan." ($1 = 3.4776 Israeli Shekels) (Editing by Tom Heneghan)

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