Friday, June 02, 2006

A Handshake

The Europeans talked incessantly, flirted shamelessly and snubbed each others' advances for months, but in the end it was the Americans who got a deal done. The $10 billion merger agreed between the New York Stock Exchange and Euronext on Thursday June 1st is the biggest step yet in the consolidation of global financial exchanges, creating a combined market $20 billion.

This news which was talked about on CNBC, covered sporadically in the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal, finally occurred. It exposes two questions and a glaring understatement.

The first question is how long will this last? My analysis leads me to conclude that the merger is here to stay. Similar to early skeptics on the EEC and the EU this merger once in effect will enter into the next phase of skeptics and predictions. If anyone is a gambling individual, I would bet on its survival. The second question is was this necessary in the first place? Fifty years ago, no. Twenty years ago, no--even six years ago, no. However, the world market has changed much. The sheer volume of business conducted, number of international companies or multi-national corporations involved has forced substantial changes in the financial market that necessitates a new approach. What this question underscores is the realization that each individual is no longer separate. People, countries, workers and companies are all interdependentt of each other. No tunnel vision. The future is the present, the past is useful yet ultimately unsustainable.

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