Tel Aviv Stock Exchange chairman Bronfeld steps down, blames ISA

Bronfeld slams the Israel Securities Authority, putting deep rifts between the country’s financial leaders out in the open.

saul bronfeld tase 248 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
saul bronfeld tase 248 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Barely a week after longtime Tel Aviv Stock Exchange CEO Ester Levanon announced her resignation, on Thursday, the bourse’s chairman Saul Bronfeld gave his notice as well, slamming the Israel Securities Authority and putting deep rifts between the country’s financial leaders out in the open.
“I’ve been forced to resign my position due to ongoing ‘hostile takeover’ attempts on the exchange by the Israel Securities Authority,” Bronfeld wrote in a resignation letter. “On the one hand, the Authority blames the exchange for all the damage caused to Israel’s capital markets due to disproportionate regulation. On the other hand, the Authority cancels, with mere words, the many good doings of the exchange’s staff and board over the course of many years.”
The ISA sent a biting letter chastising Bronfeld to the board of directors on Wednesday.
ISA Chairman Shmuel Hauser gleefully welcomed the resignation, saying he had full confidence that a new chairman would lead the exchange to new heights.
“I believe the stock exchange will emerge stronger from the recent resignations,” he said, referencing Levanon’s departure, as well as that of Yossi Treister, a senior vice president and manager of the Administration & Finance Department, and executive vice president and CIO Yoni Shemesh, who also left in the past week.
However, he added, the ISA “recognizes the need to adapt the regulation to the state of the market, and we’re working diligently to strengthen the capital market, develop it and make things easier for supervised bodies.”
In the previous two years, Levanon unsuccessfully battled a plunge in trading volumes and drop in the number of listed companies on the TASE. Levanon and Bronfeld clashed on how to tackle the situation, as criticism that the TASE had not taken substantive measures swelled. While Bronfeld argued that the declining trading volumes were fleeting and would pass, Levanon said that immediate corrective steps were needed.
In her letter of resignation, she wrote: “Regrettably, I do not feel strong support by the board of directors for the plan” to boost liquidity in the market.
According to Globes, Bronfeld had given Levanon “mediocre” performance reviews.
Globes contributed to this report.