Delisting Chinese firms from U.S. equities would drive business elsewhere: NYSE head

FILE PHOTO: NYSE Chief Operating Officer Stacey Cunningham, who will be the New York Stock Exchange's (NYSE) first female president, poses on the floor of the NYSE in New York, U.S., May 22, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Forcing Chinese companies to delist from U.S. equities markets offers no protection for U.S. investors but it would prompt the firms to take their business elsewhere, the head of the New York Stock Exchange said on Thursday.

"It wouldn't mean that U.S. investors would be protected if that happened," said Stacey Cunningham, president of Intercontinental Exchange Inc-owned ICE.N NYSE. "It just would mean other markets would be attracting more listings."

"That would mean Alibaba BABA.N and all of these other large companies couldn't come to the U.S. anymore, and so we've been lobbying to solve the problem instead of just legislating companies away," Cunningham said at a Security Traders Association conference in Washington.

Last Friday, sources said the Trump administration was considering delisting Chinese companies from U.S. stock exchanges. The move would be part a broader effort to limit U.S. investment in Chinese companies, the sources said, citing growing security concerns about the companies.

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro later dismissed a Bloomberg report, that was confirmed by several other news organizations, including Reuters, on the matter as “fake news.”

In June, U.S. lawmakers from both parties introduced a bill to force Chinese companies listed on American stock exchanges to submit to regulatory oversight, including providing access to audits, or face delisting.

Reporting by John McCrank; Editing by Tom Brown