Five UK-based consultants have bid to carry out a UK-financed study on regional stock markets. The study aims to examine the potential for developing the local exchanges by harmonising structures and regulations, with the possibility of linking the markets. The study will include stock markets in Egypt, Jordan and Israel, as well as the occupied territories.

The study, being financed by the Overseas Development Administration (ODA), is part of the UK’s aim to foster financial markets development in the region. The UK has been given responsibility for regional markets by the economic development working group of the Middle East peace process.

Although the study will not attempt to establish formal links with the various exchanges, it will look at the future potential for cross-listing company shares. This will include recommending medium-term developments and regulations that will avoid compromising long-term prospects for future links.

The study will examine the possibility of setting up a stock exchange in the occupied territories. It will not aim to present a comprehensive study, but will point the way forward, according to one UK government official.

The bids were submitted to the ODA on 15 January. The final details for the scope of the study are still being worked out. The draft terms of reference will be put before the economic regional working group in Copenhagen before an award can be made. A contract award is expected by late February or early March. The ODA plans to present the results of the study at the UK-organised conference on Middle East financial markets on 28-29 April (MEED 21:1:94).