Desjardins Confirms Support for Combination of Montréal and Toronto exchanges



    Certain ambiguities still to be removed to better reflect partners'
    intentions

    MONTREAL, March 26 /CNW Telbec/ - Given the global trend towards
consolidation in the stock market sector, Desjardins Group still believes that
the agreement to merge the two Canadian exchanges is necessary to ensure
long-term continuity in their respective markets, as well as to strengthen
their positioning both nationally and internationally.
    This is the conclusion emerging from comments submitted by Desjardins to
the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), as part of its consultations on the
consolidation of the Montréal and Toronto exchanges.
    "The creation of the TMX Group is the best option to ensure the greatest
reach for the expertise developed in Montréal in this leading-edge,
high-growth sector," stated Desjardins Group President and CEO, Mr. Alban
D'Amours. "In addition, I believe that this merger will also make it possible
to relieve the uncertainty surrounding the future of the Montréal Exchange
with respect to the March 2009 deadline and thereby ensure its continuity,
which will benefit Montréal and the province of Québec."
    While it does endorse the amalgamation project, Desjardins would like to
distance itself from any possible ambiguity associated with the manner in
which the agreement texts would be written. That is why it is asking for
precisions to be made in order to better reflect the intentions and the spirit
behind the work leading up to the development of the stock market
consolidation project.
    Thus, despite Desjardins' favourable impression of the request, there
remains a measure of doubt as to the possibility that the assignments
pertaining to the Chief Executive Officer of Montréal Exchange could be
modified if someone other than Mr. Luc Bertrand occupied this position. For
Desjardins, the responsibilities outlined in the amalgamation request should
be assigned with respect to the position of Chief Executive Officer of the
Montréal Exchange and not to the person represented by Mr. Bertrand.
    Furthermore, Desjardins would like to see certain TSX Group commitments
with regard to the AMF be outlined in more detail. For example, the request
states that TSX Group undertakes to ensure that all "existing derivatives
trading and related products operations of MX remain in Montréal." According
to Desjardins, the use of the expression "existing" appears limiting and does
not seem to properly translate the partners' intentions to make Montréal a
centre of expertise for the future development of derivative products.
    There is also another point that may be subject to interpretation and
lead one to believe that the activities of the Montréal Exchange would be
limited to the Canadian market, which would also not reflect the partners'
intent. Desjardins would therefore like the TSX Group's intent to make the
Montréal Exchange the Canadian national exchange for all derivatives trading
and related products, including being the sole operator for the trading of
carbon and other emission credits, to be more clearly affirmed.
    "It is important to remove these ambiguities so that the TMX Group can
begin trading as quickly as possible and on a solid foundation. It seems to be
no more than a formality, especially as, during discussions with
representatives of the TSX Group, their intentions as to the role of the
Montréal Exchange in the derivatives field appear quite clear to us," added
Mr. D'Amours.
    Finally, with respect to the rules of governance, Desjardins believes
that the proposal as a whole bears analysis before a decision is made. In
particular, judging governance merely based on the number of Québec residents
on the Board of Directors must be avoided. The question is rather to determine
whether the proposed structure would make it possible to ensure the long-term
continuity of the Montréal Exchange on a national and international scale as a
centre of expertise in derivatives and to maintain the AMF as regulator of the
new entity. Desjardins believes it would, as long as the ambiguities mentioned
earlier were removed.

    About Desjardins Group

    The largest integrated cooperative financial group in Canada, with global
assets of over $144 billion as at December 31, 2007, Desjardins Group consists
of a network of caisses/branches, credit unions and financial centres for
Québec- and Ontario-based companies, as well as about 20 subsidiaries in life
and general insurance, securities, venture capital, and asset management, many
of which are active nationwide. With the skills of its 40,000 employees and
the commitment of more than 6,500 elected officers, Desjardins offers its
5.8 million members and clients-individuals and businesses alike-a full range
of financial products and services. Its physical distribution network is
rounded out by virtual access methods supported by leading-edge technology.
For more information, visit www.desjardins.com.




For further information:

For further information: (for journalists only): André Chapleau,
Information and Media Relations Director, (514) 281-7229, 1-866-866-7000, ext.
7229, andre.chapleau@desjardins.com


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