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Exchange merger in jeopardy if stamp duty stays

Private client stockbroker The Share Centre is threatening to vote against the merger of the London and Frankfurt stock exchanges unless the Treasury abolishes stamp duty on share dealings.

The Share Centre is seen as being a “big player” in the words of one industry source, whose opinion may have impact on other voters in the ballot taking place this autumn

Chief executive Gavin Oldham says he will write to industry colleagues asking for their support in his campaign to force the Government to rescind the 0.5 per cent levy on share transactions.

In order for the contentious merger to proceed, 75 per cent of the 298 stockbroking members of the LSE have to vote in favour of it. This means only 75 votes against will lead to the merger&#39s collapse.

In the 1998-99 fiscal year, stamp duty raised £2.15bn for Government coffers.

The industry is arguing most other Western jurisdictions do not have a similar tax, including the German exchange.

Oldham says: “We feel the Stock Exchange&#39s merger plan is premature, bearing in mind the lack of convergence in the taxation and regulatory environments of our two countries.”

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