SEC rejects sale of Chicago Stock Exchange

SEC rejects sale of Chicago Stock Exchange

On Thursday, U.S. regulators killed off sale of the Chicago Stock Exchange to a China-based lead group of investors saying that a lack of background information on the buyers was a threat to its ability to carry out proper monitoring of the exchange following the sale.

President Trump harshly criticized the proposed deal during his campaign, calling it an example of wealth leaving the United States.

SEC staff initially approved the sale of the privately owned exchange in August, but within minutes of the announcement SEC commissioners, led by Chairman Jay Clayton, a Trump appointee, put the decision on hold for further review.

In joint letter to the SEC US lawmakers had severely criticised the deal, arguing that it would give the Chinese government access to US financial markets and questioned the SEC's ability to regulate and monitor foreign owners.

CHX is a niche player in the industry, handling just 0.5 per cent of USA equities trades.

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Supporters of the Chicago Stock Exchange proposal said it could help bring more Chinese companies to United States financial markets.

The Chicago Stock Exchange did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

In the most recent signs of continued friction, Beijing in early February launched an investigation of anti-dumping into sorghum shipments from the U.S. following the U.S. Department of Commerce's self-initiated dumping probe of the aluminum imports from China last November.

"China, a Chinese company", Trump said in a speech in 2016. It also had planned to at some point to build an exchange based in China using CHX technology.

If the deal had been approved it would have marked the first time Chinese investors had been direct owners of a USA stock exchange, although not the first time a US exchange had foreign owners.

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"We have concluded that the Exchange has not met its burden to show that approval of the proposed rule change is appropriate", the SEC said in an order posted on its website blocking the sale, per Politico.

The exchange, founded in 1882, handles a very small portion of US trading.

In a letter sent to the SEC chairman over the summer, 11 members of Congress said they had concerns about the "severe lack of transparency in China", which would make it hard for the committee for "prevent undue influence or control over a national securities exchange".

After a two-year delay, the SEC's decision puts CHX's future in doubt.

Technically, CHX could still resubmit its proposal or seek other buyers.

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The landmark Securities Exchange Act of 1934 governs secondary trading of securities - stocks, bonds, and debentures - in the United States, and provides the basis for government oversight of US financial markets.

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