The government has authorized for legislation a bill by Finance Minister Moshe Kachlon that would privatize the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. Such a move would turn it into a competitive body that would offer incentives to companies in Israel and abroad to list shares there. The privatization will free the TASE from the Israeli banks, which currently control the TASE’s Board of Directors and set policy.
In recent years, the TASE has limped along with a very few number of new listings — even Israeli start-ups generally prefer to list on the NASDAQ or one of the London exchanges. Other exchanges abroad have generally undergone a privatization process, allowing them to offer better conditions on commissions and partnerships to new companies that list.
The TASE has taken several half-hearted steps in this direction in recent years, but they have not been enough. Advocates of full privatization — which will entail the establishment of a corporate structure, with checks and balances and a new Board of Directors — hope that the move will help improve activity.
TASE chairman Shmuel Hauser said that “the TASE is a critical asset in the Israeli financial markets. This law will turn the TASE into a competitive and efficient body that will allow for international partnerships and cooperation, turning it into a modern organization, as has been done abroad.” Shai Babad, director general of the Finance Ministry, called the law “good news for the TASE and the Israeli financial market. This will allow for the expansion of the financial markets locally and internationally, relaxing regulations and encouraging investments.”