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Scotiabank Chief Executive Waugh Favors LSE Purchase of TMX

Bank of Nova Scotia Chief Executive Officer Richard Waugh said he favors the acquisition of TMX Group Inc. by the owner of the London Stock Exchange as long as governance and Canada’s national interest are protected.

“My hope is that this deal goes through with some modifications that do protect national and regional interests,” Waugh told reporters at the annual meeting of the Inter-American Development Bank in Calgary today. “They have to negotiate and find solutions.”

Issues of corporate and regulatory governance need further negotiations before the deal should be allowed to proceed, Waugh said. Regional exchanges are important in times of crisis, such as the one Egypt, where the reopening of banks and financial markets was a sign of a return to normalcy, he said.

Canada’s banks, which are usually united on most policy issues, are divided on the proposed C$3.2 billion ($3.3 billion) transaction amid concern about job losses and surrendering regulatory control of the securities industry. Scotiabank, Canada’s third-largest bank, is the last of the nation’s six biggest banks to voice an opinion on the transaction.

Toronto-Dominion Bank, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and National Bank of Canada said they oppose the sale to the London Stock Exchange Group Plc. Royal Bank of Canada and Bank of Montreal, which are advising on the deal, support the combination.

“I am head of Canada’s most international bank,” Waugh said. “It’s a very fine line of looking after true national interest and overreacting in a protectionist way. These transactions should get done. It is an important issue.”

The banks opposing the transaction released a letter March 9 outlining their concerns, saying Canada’s clout as a center for mining and energy trading may be diminished.

The transaction is “not the same as two mining companies getting together,” Waugh said. “I think that has to be recognized by all participants including the two that are negotiating.”

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