Euronext Amsterdam is to turn Beursplein 5 into a news centre for the financial industry. After 6 December 2002, once all exchange trading has been computerised, the exchange building will house hundreds of traders and a range of media, becoming a centre for the exchange of information between investors, companies, traders, analysts, the media and the public.
The exchange floor will continue to be a focal point at Beursplein 5. It will contain workplaces for some 150 traders and offer a number of camera positions for the press. Also, six special rooms will be made available to listed companies and other organisations for holding meetings with the press, analysts, shareholders and the like. Moreover, private investors and other interested parties will be able to come to Beursplein 5 to learn all about trading on the exchange.
The development of a news centre is part of Euronextâ€™s aim of offering a full range of services to its clients and optimum transparency to shareholders. The exchange has taken a number of initiatives to encourage listed companies to be as open as possible towards shareholders. One initiative involved creating separate market segments and indices for companies that comply with specific criteria in the area of transparency. A total of 265 companies have joined these segments since they were launched in January 2002.
As George MÃ¶ller, Euronext N.V.â€™s chief operating officer, explained, 'We want to encourage transparency in the financial sector by giving everybody the opportunity to learn about the exchange and what actually goes on here. Providing the Dutch financial sector with a physical place to meet will be even more crucial when exchange trading is fully computerised.'
Euronext Amsterdam started the gradual transition from floor trading to screen trading for derivatives in November 2001. At the moment, 90% of all options and futures are traded on screen. The last day of open outcry trading, which has been such a feature of Beursplein 5, will be 6 December 2002, the final day of floor trading in AEX index options. As from 9 December 2002, all exchange trading will be done electronically.
The Amsterdam exchange decided in 1997 to phase out floor trading and replace it with screen trading, but has always insisted that computer screens contain valid prices for every option series and futures contract. This is particularly important for retail investors, which make a significant contribution to trading in Amsterdam, as it enables them to check the amount they have to pay before they go ahead with a transaction. Increased interest in the Amsterdam market among foreign market participants since the changeover to screen trading has led to a substantial rise in turnover, and narrower spreads for investors. Finally, the switch to screen trading has resulted in Euronext making a number of fee cuts for traders.