Lahore – More than 160 stock exchange staff in Lahore and Islamabad will lose their jobs when the two bourses merge with Karachi later this month, insiders said today.

Exchange sources said 80 per cent of 210 staff working at the two Punjab exchanges will be redundant despite commitment of management that there would be no job losses.

The three bourses will be integrated into a single Pakistan Stock Exchange by December 28th when the Lahore and Islamabad operations will become branch offices.

Insiders said staff in the Lahore and Islamabad exchanges have been given ‘Exit check List’ forms to complete ahead of the merger.

The merger was approved by both the Securities and Exchange and Competition Commissions. Lahore Stock Exchange MD Aftab Ch today confirmed there would be redundancies but claimed the majority of the staff will be retained. “We will retain some of the staff and rest of the employees will be relieved with handsome package,” he added.

According to sources within the exchange, however, only 20 percent of staff will be engaged in the new PSE while the rest will be fired without compensation. “Around 18 people will be reemployed in PSE in Karachi as well as in its Lahore regional office, as LSE will continue its operations as a regional office of the Pakistan Stock Exchange, which requires at least two dozen of the workers of the exchange,” said one exchange official.

The staff, which includes many who have served 25 to 30 years, are very disappointed, especially with their severance terms, a senior staff member said.

“The workers, with five years service will get only six-month salaries and rest of staff, who spent up to 30 years here, will be relieved with payment of only one year’s salary,” he added. There will be no pension while the salary will not include any allowances either.

Aftab Ch said although the LSE will no longer operate as a stock market, it would continue its operations as a financial service provider. “The Lahore Stock Exchange will be converted into a financial institution or investment bank to provide trusteeship services to the companies,” he said. The new merger will increase retail capital investors’ base, currently only 2.25 million, providing more opportunities for capitalization.

Forty percent of shares in the new PSE will be sold to a strategic group of investors while a further 20 percent will be offered to the public in an IPO.