At the WFE, we celebrate our 60th anniversary this year - a thought I find both wonderful and humbling. As an industry we have ridden multiple political changes, watched markets move from the floor to electronic, created new markets and asset classes, and created new generations of investor, fought and lost territory, and fought and won territory.
And as we start 2020 and stand at the beginning of a new decade, it’s an opportunity to reflect on our history but also look forward, well beyond the current year. I believe the next ten years will be the best ever for market infrastructures (MIs).
And that change remains our constant.
Why do I believe it will be the best decade for our industry? Well let’s start by thinking about what the WFE and its members - both exchanges and CCPs - stand for: We champion the integrity of markets as the foundation of economic growth and welfare. We believe in, and promote, the benefits of regulated, fair, orderly and transparent markets. We strive to restore trust by enshrining investor protection at the heart of efficient market structure. We advocate for markets and MIs that are resilient, robust and stable in the midst of both turmoil and innovation. And we work to enable the free flow of capital globally through regulated market infrastructures.
And how do we do that at the WFE?
We seek to ensure the integrity of markets by advocating for the right market structure globally. We seek to unite the industry and find consensus on issues so we speak with one strong voice. We seek to foster market development that leads to optimal outcomes in the future, and advances sustainable growth. We seek to support and nurture emerging markets. And we seek to enable the use of innovation and the use of technology for the benefit of investors around the world.
In choosing our WFE priorities for 2020, we believe we are also choosing our priorities for much of the next decade in terms of the trends they represent, the reasons we chose them, and the themes that will play out in market infrastructure, an industry that is constantly looking to the future.
Our priorities for 2020 include ESG, where exchanges have been at the forefront of driving change and intend to play a leadership role in leveraging the power of financial markets for the benefit of a more sustainable world. We will also be working on the topic of asset tokenisation, where our industry is trying to create a resilient and trustworthy market structure.
We will also be educating stakeholders on the value of the exchange role in creating data, and about CCPs and their role in systemic safety. We believe that vested interests mean that, as an industry, we will always have an area or two where we will need to go out and educate stakeholders on the value of what we do to ensure trust. This effort will be more important than ever, as other market participants strive to weaken the role of regulated markets in return for higher profits. Market integrity, a public good safeguarded in each market by our members, needs to be protected for the benefit of all investors and the stability of the financial system.
And these four priorities sit alongside our ongoing work on our industry’s role in the real economy, market fragmentation, and in analysing, quantifying and describing changes in market structure.
As an industry we remain as relevant now as we were 60 years ago; we are hungry for progress and development and we champion the rights of both the individual investor - the man or woman who is new to financial markets - and that of the institutional investor.
As an industry and an organisation we have been through a transformative decade and an even more transformative 60 years. Our markets - your markets - are open for business. The best is yet to come.