Deutsche Börse today announced the planned rule changes for the Open Market and the current schedule for closing the First Quotation Board. Following close collaboration between Deutsche Börse, the stock exchange regulator of the state of Hesse and the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht) and consultation with market participants, the First Quotation Board, in its current form, will be closed on 15 December 2012.
As already announced in February, the First Quotation Board, as the segment with the lowest transparency requirements, has experienced suspected cases of market manipulation multiple times.
From 1 July 2012, stricter rules will apply to the Entry Standard, the Open Market's transparency segment for SMEs. In future, access to the Entry Standard will always require a public offering and thus a prospectus. In addition, businesses must have existed as a company for at least two years and have share capital of €750,000, a par value of €1 per-share and a minimum free float of 10 percent. The prospectus requirement does not apply to companies which are already listed on the Entry Standard (so-called grandfathering) or to companies which move from the Regulated Market to the Entry Standard.
In addition, the follow-up requirements will be tightened for all companies in the Entry Standard. In future, issuers will have to publish an electronic version of not only their annual report, but also a semi-annual report including balance sheet, P&L statement and notes to the accounts.
“We are convinced that the new measures improve our transparency segments' quality and ensure sustainable tradability with high liquidity. The stock exchange's primary role is to make sure that German and international companies can raise capital efficiently and effectively”, said Alexander Höptner, who is responsible for the Markets Services Section at Deutsche Börse.
As part of the restructuring, new requirements will also come into force for the Quotation Board (formerly the Second Quotation Board) from 1 October 2012.
In future, the specialist will take on the applicant's role in the Quotation Board and will thus be required to announce capital measures and other relevant information to the stock exchange without delay. Aside from bonds and funds, only equities from companies which are already included in another stock-exchange-like trading venue recognised by Deutsche Börse will then be listed on the Quotation Board. There are currently around 10,000 shares listed on the Quotation Board.