Accountancy Age: MPs to quiz finance director over Stock Exchange breakdown

Among those who will be held to account before the influential Commons Treasury Committee are chief executive Gavin Casey and finance director Jonathan Howell. They will be expected to explain why the technical breakdown occurred on 5 April, the last day of the tax year.

The eight-hour breakdown was the worst in the history of the exchange. Software problems forced a shutdown of its electronic trading platform, leaving stockbrokers unable to trade on the last day of the tax year – one of the busiest on the exchange’s calendar.

Investigations are continuing into what happened but Andersen Consulting, which installed and maintained most of the system, is not expected to give evidence to the committee.

The committee is set to take its first public evidence on the technical breakdown of the exchange on 17 May.

The move emerged as a gaffe by stock exchange spin doctors saw a memo leaked by fax to newsgathering organisations.

The memo shows the exchange planned to contrast ‘intransigent Germans’ with a flexible, compromising London, if it had failed to secure a merger with its Frankfurt rival, according to a strategy document.

The exchange was to issue ‘statesmanlike’ expressions of regret but confidence in the future if the merger talks collapsed.

The memo was attached to a press release detailing the appointment of Don Cruickshank as the next chairman of the exchange.

Andersen Consulting could face penalties over stock exchange breakdown

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