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`COMEBACK' FOR STOCK EXCHANGE.

Byline: NEIL HODGSON

REGIONAL stock exchanges could be set to return.

The Liverpool stock exchange closed after a shake-up in March 1973 when regional centres were merged into one corporate identity.

Manchester's stock exchange retained a trading floor until 1986 with the advent of electronic trading in Big Bang. It remains as a regional office for the London Stock Exchange.

But regional centres could return after an initiative by Advantage West Midlands, the regional development agency, to revive the Birmingham stock exchange next year,known as the Smaller British Exchange.

The plan is for a low-cost web-based system to list shares in Midlands businesses not considered big enough to list on the full London exchange or the smaller Alternative Investment Market (AIM).

Such junior exchanges would stimulate the regional economies and could be a natural place to list shares in firms supported by the regional venture capital funds set up with public money by Chancellor Gordon Brown.

A London Stock Exchange spokesman said: ``Anything that provides the mechanism to help businesses grow to join the LSE is good.

``The gap is seen to be at the level below that where AIM operates at the moment.''

Liverpool Chamber of Commerce chief executive Peter Ralphs said: ``Abo ut 15 years ago and very much when venture capital was in its prime and heyday flotation was always one of the motivations for venture capital funding to go in.

``I am not an economist but I think a local exchange would work very well. There's usually more money to invest in businesses than good businesses to invest in,''he added.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Aug 27, 2003
Words:266
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