By Huw Jones
LONDON (Reuters) - The trading of dual-listed shares in Britain by European investors is expected to continue after Brexit, a senior official at pan-European exchange Euronext has said.
Investors in the bloc can only trade shares on foreign platforms that EU regulators have deemed to be "equivalent", meaning they comply with customer protection and other rules that are similar to those in the EU.
Britain is due to leave the bloc next month and Brussels has not pre-emptively made an "equivalence" decision regarding UK trading venues in case of a no-deal Brexit.
Without a deal to ensure a smooth departure, European investors who want to trade in London in the shares of a company that is also listed on an EU exchange would be cut off from a big pool of trading, which could mean less competitive prices.
Anthony Attia, chief executive of Euronext's Paris operation and head of global listings, said the bourse was "actively working" with regulators to make sure its double listings in Dublin, Amsterdam and Paris would continue to benefit from a European pool of liquidity.
The European Commission is responsible for granting equivalence to foreign financial operators, taking advice from the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA).
"We are confident this is going to continue after Brexit, but obviously we need to wait for some clarification and positioning from the European Commission on this," Attia told reporters on Thursday evening in a conference call.
Euronext saw "significant" commercial opportunities from double listings, Attia said.
ESMA Chair Steven Maijoor said earlier this week that the watchdog was looking at this issue with a view to avoiding disruption in financial markets.
"We intend to provide more clarity on this matter sufficiently ahead of Brexit date," Maijoor said.
Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29 and has yet to agree the terms of its divorce due to deep divisions within the British parliament.
Brussels agreed in December that if Britain crashes out of the bloc with no deal, it would deem UK clearing to be equivalent so that EU customers could continue using them.
The European Commission said on Friday it was aware of the issues around dual listed shares and is in contact with ESMA on the matter.
"As we said in our 19 December 2018 communication, after a thorough examination of the risks linked to a no deal scenario in the financial sector, the Commission has found that only a limited number of contingency measures is necessary to safeguard financial stability in the EU27," a Commission spokesman said
UK-based share trading platforms like Cboe Europe, the London Stock Exchange's Turquoise, and Aquis Exchange plan to open hubs in the EU by March 29 to avoid the risk of customers in the bloc being cut off.
(Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Gareth Jones)