EU FUTURES SCENE EXPECTED TO CHANGE DRASTICALLY

EU FUTURES SCENE EXPECTED TO CHANGE DRASTICALLY

A single currency and new guidelines on cross-border investments will change the financial landscape of Europe and restructure the Continent's futures exchanges, said Gerard Pfauwadel, chairman of the French International

Financial Futures and Options Exchange.

"Some domestic exchanges will disappear; some other domestic niche(s) will survive, and in addition, you will have some large European products which will become benchmarks in this continent," Mr. Pfauwadel said.He said this new environment will be an interesting field for increased competition between European exchanges, but added, "At the end of the game . . . it's not sure that the existing landscape of 27 futures and options exchanges will be the same. You may have mergers; you may have alliances, cooperation."

When Europe adopts a single currency, an exchange's domestic niche linked to a national currency will disappear, but new contracts are possible such as the European Currency Unit-dollar and ECU-yen.

Mr. Pfauwadel, who is also chairman of the European Committee of Futures and Options Exchanges (Ecofex), said that the European investment service directive, which will start Jan. 1, 1996, will boost efficiency and facilitate cross-border trade in Europe, especially with the computerization of more exchanges.

Under the directive, any company that is authorized in its own country would not require approval in any other EU member state to trade in the same category.

In a wide-ranging interview during the international Burgenstock Swiss commodities, futures and options association annual meeting, Mr. Pfauwadel said that every exchange in Europe, including his (Marche Term International de France, or Matif) must recognize the single currency factor.

As one of the leading exchanges of Europe, "we want to stay among the big exchanges in Europe after the single currency," he said.

But he said that with the single currency now not slated to be introduced before 1999, "we do have two additional years of potential volatility," and a potential absence of fixed rates between key currencies such as the deutsche mark and the French franc.

On Oct. 23, Matif plans to broaden its range of products by launching a deutsche mark-French franc currency option, becoming the fifth currency option traded on the exchange. In 1994, Matif initiated trading on dollars-deutsche marks and dollars-French francs, and in May of this year introduced trading with two European parities, the pound-deutsche mark and the deutsche mark- lira.

With its expertise, Paris could become an organized currency exchange. But the trading would change because the intra-European currencies will disappear.

Although the main part of Matif's business (about 98 percent) is interest rate products and stock index products, the exchange will diversify into currency options and commodities.