Ex-London Stock Exchange chief said to plan fintech SPAC

Karthik Subramanian

Former head of the London Stock Exchange (LSE), Xavier Rolet, is looking to launch a special purpose acquisition company in the US targeting financial technology investments.

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This news was confirmed by people familiar with the matter and it is expected to raise about $300 million. The plans for the listing are expected to be revealed over the next few days.

According to people in the know, Credit Suisse Group AG is advising on the planned IPO and this is expected to be one of the most high-profile SPAC listings to come into the market and is expected to help the push for fintech companies.

Mr. Xavier is known to have helped LSE close several successful deals during his tenure there which gave the LSE control over the largest clearinghouse in the world and also made it one of the biggest financial index compilers. He left LSE in 2017 and moved to London-based hedge fund firm CQS in 2019 as its CEO.

Serge Harry, who was one of the main members of his team at LSE and who is also the deputy CEO at CQS is expected to join him in the blank-check company.

Mr. Xavier is already on the board of another blank-check company called Golden Falcon Acquisition Corp, which is a SPAC that raised $345 million in its US IPO last December. The planned SPAC by Xavier is also expected to raise a similar amount whenever its IPO is launched.

Mr. Xavier Rolet is a highly respected and influential figure in the financial industry and his leaving LSE in 2017, after having closed many successful deals for the exchange, had met with a lot of resistance. It may be remembered that Sir Chris Hohns had opposed the plan to remove Mr. Xavier as its Chairman and had accused the then members of mismanagement and poor governance which had led to Mr. Xavier leaving the exchange.

The planned SPAC is likely to be closely watched in the industry circles at a time when the world is coming out of a pandemic and the large investors are still having certain doubts over the loosening of their purse strings. But this period has also seen a lot of innovation in the financial industry so that it can keep pace with the changing world and this opens up various possibilities in terms of technology and investment as well.

It may also be noted that the SEC had recently warned about SPAC’s and had said that the mergers should satisfy all listing standards upon consummation of the business combination.

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