American Stock Exchange chairman Paul Kolton today said that discussions with New Jersey and Connecticut officials about moving the exchange out of New York City are still very much alive, but that such a relocation would be very unlikely should a proposed merger between he Amex and the New York Stock Exchange be consumated.
Meanwhile, the Amex is planning to meet with New York City and state officials next week about a potential new site for the exchange in lower Manhattan that could accomodate an expanded, and possibly merged, Amex after 1980.
New York City has narrowed a list of 10 Potential relocation sites to three, according to Kolton, all in the Wall Street area including 100 acres of empty landfill on the Hudson River side of lower Manhattan near Battery Park which would provide ample room for a new exchange hat could house both the Amex and NYSE.
"I think that everybody recognizes that the further the exchange moves from the downtown New York area the greater the trauma would be," Kolton said, indicating that this had been made clear to New Jersey and Connecticut officials when they made their initial pitches last year.
But Kolton denied, in an interview, that he is playing off the New Jersey and Connecticut offers i order to get a better deal from New York City in the form of tax advantages and some government financing assistance in construction of a new exchange facility.
The Amex chairman reiterated his belief that discussions that began late last year between his exchange and the NYSE on a possible merger would come to a decision one way or the other in 1977. He said that three sub-committees have been formed to discuss priority issues - including market-making and structure, the form of memberships in a merged exchange, and financial and administrative matters - but that no meetings had yet taken place.
Kolton said there was "an earnest effort on the part of both insitutions to pursue this matter as hard and quickly as we can."
The possibility of a merger between the country's two largest ecxchanges has surfaced and been dropped several times in the past - the main impetus for a merger coming from the bro- kerage community which would like to see its costs reduced by such a combination.
The Amex chairman said the "so-called pressure from brokerage firms is considerably more subdued and thoughtful than the pressure applied three or four years ago" for a merger, and that the reason for the new talks had mostly to do with the development of a national market system and the increased importance of geographical centers for stock trading under a national system.
But while the merger talks are proceeding, Kolton said the amex continues to pursue its own expansion plans including the addition of several new trading products in 1977 such as options on gold and silver bulion, the expected addition of put options to the call stock options that are already being traded, and the introduction of options on debt securities.