The WFE 2020 Series: Rajeeva Bandaranaike, Chief Executive Officer, Colombo Stock Exchange

By: Rajeeva Bandaranaike, Chief Executive Officer, Colombo Stock Exchange Jan 2020

1. As we kick off the year 2020, please can you look further into the future, and share your predictions on what the global market infrastructure industry might look and feel like by 2025? 

The pace at which change is happening will cause some disruption and challenge the existing exchange model . But I believe organized and regulated capital markets will continue to thrive and boom and listed securities and venues will remain popular .But what is certain is that it will be prone to disruption . We can expect more volume moving to electronic platforms for price discovery and also to direct access platforms for primary markets . Technologies like Artificial intelligence, machine learning capabilities , big data analytics and a greater degree of digitization will reshape the industry . Although there is discussion and some work done on distributed ledgers I am not sure how fast such adoption will figure in the exchange space . I also believe that users of exchange services will keep demanding higher value at a lower cost which will drive exchanges to strengthen their revenue streams from post trade, technology services , sale of data and data analytics and attempt to lower costs for users.

2. And how is your firm getting ready for the changes you’ve outlined above? 

Even through we are not among the larger group of exchanges and is a frontier market I do not think we will be immune to disruption and as such we cannot afford to lean back and continue business as usual . To address these issues we have strategized two key areas. One is to leverage on technology and offer a digitalised experience at all stakeholder touch points. For example among others ,as a part of our digital strategy we are keen to look at how robotic process automation can help us to streamline the administrative support functions at the exchange and how artificial intelligence and machine learning can utilized for market surveillance . The other area is to do a new business model and a business plan for the exchange which will include cost rescaling ,revenue optimization and revenue diversification strategies in order to make the exchange more sustainable in the long term in preparation for demutualisation and offer more value to stakeholders at a reasonable cost.

3. Entering a new decade is not just about looking ahead; it’s also a good time for reflecting on the past. What’s the top lesson you’ve personally learned from the past ten years?

Experience comes at a cost and if we have to build a business model today we will do much better than evolving over time . I believe the top lesson is that the implementation of a long term technology strategy which is agile enough to change course very swiftly to respond to market needs is something we should have done. If we built and invested in software development capabilities internally we would have done better ,faster and at a cheaper cost. In house capabilities could have saved us time and cost and also facilitated a process by which we would achieved a quality standard in development over time and enabled us to be a provider of software and related services to the industry . Such in house capabilities would have also enabled us to start partnering Fintech companies in order to transform and digitalize our services in a cost effective and timely manner.