t The Italian Stock Exchange is due for privatisation, although the final date has still to be determined, as is the final ownership structure for which the Italian treasury must give approval.

t The current body, the Consiglio di Borsa (Stock Exchange Council), is a public institution with responsibility for running both the cash market and the cash derivative market (covering futures and options).

t The Milan-based council was formally set up in 1994 and replaced the 10 markets based in cities across Italy, a move made easier by the completion of a totally electronic market system that year. The council regards the privatisation as the biggest event in its history.

t The post-privatisation body, to be known as Borsa Italiana SpA, will be 51% owned by intermediary trading companies with ownership of the remaining 49% still to be decided. A group of companies listed on the stock exchange has formed a company with the aim of acquiring a proportion of the remaining 49%.

t The new company will take over all the activities of the current council but in addition it will be largely self-regulating. It will operate within a framework set by the current regulatory authority the Commissione Nazionale per le Società e la Borsa (Consob).

t The Metim project, a national screen-based market for medium-sized companies, will be launched under the auspices of the Borsa Italiana.

t The post-privatisation board will present a new package of rules for the market and as part of its remit must seek to improve international competitiveness, transparency and efficiency.

t Steps being canvassed include a relaxation in the requirement for a company to have shown three years of profit before it can be listed, something that may have contributed to Italian football clubs seeking a listing in London.

t With plans to privatise the government bond wholesale and derivative market, there is speculation that all markets could be merged in the medium term because of the need to achieve a critical mass for international competition.

t The MIB30, the index of the 30 most liquid and capitalised stocks was amended on 24 March this year and will be revised again this September. The council and Consob have decided to restrict the trading parametres for each stock.

t The Treasury has decided to restrict the nominal coupon rate on five-year and 10-year BTP futures traded on the MIF (Italian futures market). This will take effect from the June maturity contract.

t Benito Boschetto, the current chief executive officer of the Italian Stock Exchange Council has been appointed temporary managing director of the new company, while the new chairman of Consob is Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, a former vice-chairman of the Bank of Italy.

t The reform process began in 1991 with the incorporation of the EU sim directive which created intermediary brokerage houses as limited companies. It provided a more formal rule structure which concentrated trading on the market. While some off-market segments continued, such trading was covered by more formal reporting rules.

t The introduction of electronic trading began late in 1991 and was completed in late 1994, with five-day settlement (TP5) replacing monthly settlement that year.

t The derivatives market also began operation in 1994 while a takeover law and the insider trading law were also approved.

t The market trading volume reached a record high on 15 January of IL2,600 billion while the monthly average was nearly IL1,600 billion.

t The market increased by 21% in the first two months of this year compared to a European average of 7%.

t The market had a record number of new listings in 1996 with 13 IPOs, including two banks. There are 217 listed companies with 307 listed securities.