Market insiders expect that the much-anticipated Shanghai-London stock connect, a cross-listing program between exchanges in Shanghai and London, could be officially launched during the first quarter of this year, Securities Daily reported.

At present, the technical preparation work for the trading system is complete, but securities regulators are still selecting the first batch of brokers, the report said.

To be selected, domestic brokerages must be registered with the Shanghai Stock Exchange to become a cross-border conversion agency.

It should also have obtained the qualifications to trade Chinese Depository Receipts, which is a certificate issued by a custodian bank that represents a pool of foreign equity.

Li Lifeng, chief analyst at Sinolink Securities, expects that China will choose 10 brokers as China’s cross-border conversion agencies, and the UK will also arrange 10 institutions in kind.

The scheme will allow international investors to access Chinese A-shares via GDRs traded on the London Stock Exchange, and London-traded firms to list in Shanghai via CDRs.