Swiss Stock Exchanges Set for EU Market Access Through June

(Bloomberg) -- The European Union proposed granting Switzerland’s stock exchanges access to the single market until the end of June, and tied any further extension to the Swiss government’s endorsement of a new agreement on economic ties with the bloc.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, proposed a six-month extension of the so-called equivalence decision that allows Swiss trading venues to serve EU clients. Without it, bourses led by SIX Swiss Exchange AG would be shut out of the EU at the end of this year.

Julian Chan, a spokesman for SIX, said winning a permanent equivalence determination is the company’s “highest priority.” Roland Meier, a spokesman for the Swiss Finance Ministry, said the government also seeks a market-access deal without a time limit, because the country meets all the requirements.

The temporary access deal would ensure continuity for cross-border equities traders and give the Swiss government time to build support for the agreement on economic ties with the EU, Valdis Dombrovskis, the EU’s financial-services policy chief, said in a statement on Monday. The proposal has been put to EU member states, which have until Dec. 19 to respond, according to people familiar with the process.

“We’re aware that some time will pass between the Federal Council’s decision and the final Swiss decision,” the commission’s Johannes Hahn told reporters in Brussels. Still, the basis of a further extension of the stock-trading equivalence finding would be that the Swiss government “judges the result of our negotiations as positive, and recommends that the relevant institutions, and the Swiss voters, adopt it,” he said.

The issue of Swiss stock exchanges handling trades from EU clients has long been caught up in the fraught negotiations on the new agreement on Swiss-EU relations. Last year, the commission granted the exchanges just one year of market access as it pushed Switzerland for progress on the wider deal.

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