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The Tokyo Stock Exchange, formerly a membership organization, started operations as a stock company Thursday in a bid to improve its worldwide competitiveness.

The transformation is expected to help the TSE raise funds easily and increase operational efficiency, said Masaaki Tsuchida, president and chief executive officer of Tokyo Stock Exchange Inc.

Tsuchida added that the TSE will continue to maintain fair trading and protect investors’ benefits as a public service, although as a company it will try to make profits.

The new company was capitalized at 11.5 billion with a workforce of 805. It will have 11 board members, including six non-TSE officials. The outsiders include Hiroshi Okuda, chairman of Toyota Motor Corp., Nobuo Tateishi, chairman of Omron Corp. and Hitoshi Maeda, a law professor at Gakushuin University.

With the accelerated globalization of markets in the early 1990s, market operators have promoted demutualization for greater flexibility to raise funds and form capital alliances with other stock exchanges.

Tsuchida said the TSE will become more competitive by offering attractive financial products and services and introducing necessary computer systems.

“Out objective in the short run is to make profits for fiscal 2001,” he said.

The TSE makes money mainly from companies who pay listing fees and trading participation fees.

To increase management efficiency, Tsuchida said the company is working to reduce operation costs.

The TSE was established as a membership organization in 1949 and now commands nearly a 90 percent share of stock deals in Japan, with 2,093 Japanese- and 39 foreign-company stocks listed.

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