PLANS have been unveiled to launch a new independent stock exchange in Scotland, more than 40 years after the country's last trading floor closed down.

Scotex will be based in Edinburgh, the UK's second largest centre for financial services and the fourth largest in Europe, but trading will be done via an electronic exchange.

The venture is understood to be the brainchild of a team of former Nasdaq traders, a US stock exchange and the second largest in the world. It will be set up in collaboration with Scots investors.

HeraldScotland:

They are aiming to launch Scotex in the first quarter of 2017, pending the outcome of an application to the Financial Conduct Authority.

A statement on the Scotex website said the move had been spurred by recent political developments and by predictions that Scotland will become independent from the rest of the UK by 2019.

It said: "Recent developments in the UK promise to totally transform the UK capital markets landscape. A new political reality requires a new capital market for Scotland.

"Scotex is a new and innovative stock exchange that will offer capital markets access for the next generation of scientists, inventors and entrepreneurs of Scotland.

"It is crucial for Scotland that its wealth creators – now and in the future – have a visible equity capital market that is able to provide them with access to the capital they need to grow their companies."

Glasgow's last trading floor, the Glasgow stock exchange, closed down in 1973 after 129 years.

HeraldScotland: The Glasgow stock exchange in 1959

Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen also boasted their own stock exchanges at one time, but like the rest of the UK's trading floors, all were merged to create the London Stock Exchange (LSE), which has gone on to become one of the world's most important markets.

Scotex said it will create a "Scots-50" index to rank Scotland's leading listed companies, and that English, Welsh and Irish companies can also apply to join Scotex.

Shares in London Stock Exchange companies would also trade on Scotex.

A spokesman for Scotex said: "We are delighted to be going public with their plans for the new exchange. This is an important moment in the history of capital markets in Scotland.

"It is incredible to think that just over 50 years ago Scotland had four stock exchanges and since the merger with the LSE in 1973 - none.

"We hope we’ll be able to put that right and get the access to equity capital markets that the industrious and inventive people of Scotland deserve."