* Says 3-4 governance issues should be addressed
* Regional exchanges seen as important
* Could be months before approval decision
(Adds quotes, details, background)
By Jeffrey Jones
CALGARY, Alberta, March 26 The head of Canada's
No. 3 bank said on Saturday he supports the C$3.1 billion ($3.2
billion) takeover of the country's main stock market by the
London Stock Exchange LSE.TO, providing tweaks are made to
protect national interests.
The deal for TMX Group (X.TO), part of a big consolidation
of exchanges around the world, should include governance measures to give
investors comfort that Canada's capital markets can operate during times of
crisis, for example, Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) Chief Executive Rick Waugh
"My hope is this deal goes through with some modifications
that do protect some real national and regional interests. I'm
optimistic and hopefully they can (make them)," Waugh told
reporters at a meeting of Western Hemisphere economic leaders.
"Always, I believe in free markets and when parties
negotiate a deal, they work very, very hard on it and it's a
tough deal to do. It would be a shame to lose it, but we're
going to have to wait to see what comes out."
Canada's top securities regulator has said the continued
strength of Canadian equity markets will be crucial as it mulls
whether to support the transaction.
Waugh said three or four corporate and regulatory
governance modifications would maintain the deal's strategic
and economic rationale. But he declined to specify, saying that
the parties will have to negotiate the issues themselves.
During a crisis, banks and capital markets reopening are
major signs that normalcy is returning, he said.
"That's one reason I think regional exchanges are
important, and therefore these are the implications that we all
need to work through in terms of policies," Waugh said.
"It's not the same as two mining companies getting together
and I think that has to be recognized by all participants,
including the two that are negotiating."
It could take months before a final decision is made on the
politically sensitive deal, especially with Canada now headed
for a May 2 election.
(Reporting by Jeffrey Jones; editing by Peter Galloway)