Borsa Istanbul Outlook for 2024

By: The WFE Focus Team Jan 2024

1) What changed in your business over the last year and what was your biggest achievement?

We strive to strengthen financial technology infrastructure and support “Century of Türkiye” vision by ensuring development and continuity of our markets through innovative steps. As a big step in this direction, we implemented BISTECH 3.0 project on August 7, 2023.

Developed completely by local resources, BISTECH 3.0 is the new version of Borsa İstanbul trading system. With the introduction of this version, instrument distribution has been restructured and architectural changes made in the order transmission and data broadcast channels for improved efficiency and higher capacity.

Additionally, infrastructure changes have been implemented to enable access to the market with a smaller number of users for brokerage firms, as well as improvements in redundancy and continuity areas.

With BISTECH 3.0, Borsa İstanbul is now able to offer faster, safer and more efficient services. This improvement in infrastructure will also pave the way for the markets to develop and continue to grow in the future.

2) What are your biggest opportunities?

Expanding our financial services and products enables important opportunities for the development of markets. We are keen to launch new indices particularly in the fields of sustainability and participation finance, as these themes attract significant interest from companies and investors. So far we have enabled the establishment of 64 new funds based on these indices. Having finalized our preparations to ensure all our indices comply with IOSCO criteria; we are now ready to apply ESMA in this regard.

We raised the bar for BIST Sustainability Index, which we have been calculating since 2014. To be included in the index, companies now meet a stricter set of criteria. Evaluations are carried out continuously rather than once a year. In this way, we encourage companies to increase their sustainability performance and get ahead in the international competition. Companies may update their data any time throughout the year and their ratings are revised to reflect these updates, if they meet the criteria, they are included in the index following the start of the next quarter. We are taking steps to diversify and increase the number of sustainability indices. We launched BIST Sustainability 25 Index recently, introducing a new tool for investors to invest in distinguished companies that adopt sustainability and corporate social responsibility principles, and a new alternative indicator for asset managers to launch various financial products, such as funds, exchange-traded funds and structured products based on sustainability principles.

We also launched indices in the field of Islamic (participation) finance. Thanks to these indices, investors may easily find the companies operating in accordance with Islamic principles. We provide training on Islamic finance to all listed companies. We also disclose opinion in the public offering prospectus when companies meet Islamic finance criteria during their IPO, providing critical information to participation sensitive IPO investors. Through these diversified instruments companies benefit from alternative sourcing opportunities particularly in the field of Islamic finance.

Islamic equity indices calculated by Borsa İstanbul as of today include; BIST Participation 30, BIST Participation 50, BIST Participation 100, BIST Participation All, BIST Participation Dividend and BIST Sustainability Participation. I would like to mention BIST Sustainability Participation Index in particular, which includes companies that meet both Islamic finance criteria and Sustainability criteria. With this index, we provide investors the opportunity to invest in Sustainability and Islamic finance at the same time. Green sukuk are also offered in our markets addressing both Sustainability and Islamic finance criteria.

3) What are you most excited for in 2024?

What excites me most for 2024 is our project to transform Borsa İstanbul into a continuous education environment. We aim to train young talents with highly quality, custom designed training programs particularly in the field of technology. We choose young talents from 3rd and 4th year in universities. We also target new hires (assistant specialists) who are recent graduates. The training program for assistant specialists is designed as a master's degree program in essence. Subject matter experts among Borsa İstanbul staff, reputable academicians in their fields, leading education consultancy companies will take part in delivering the training programs. Through these programs, we aim to increase corporate bonding in a sustainable manner while equipping our staff with the cutting-edge knowledge, especially in the field of technology.

4) What is your most important project this year (regulatory or otherwise)?

We continue to increase the variety and number of our products and services in order to respond to the interest of companies and investors. In this context, this year we implemented a very important project that we have been working on for a while as a part of the entrepreneurship ecosystem. We finally successfully launched Venture Capital Market at Borsa İstanbul. Companies that are considering IPO in the future but need to access financing at an earlier stage will now be able to access early financing through this market. Companies that are keen to fund their early growth with equity will be able to obtain resources in the Venture Capital Market by issuing shares through capital increase to qualified and institutional investors, and these shares are traded in Borsa Istanbul Equity Market.

Given the high demand from investors in the venture capital field, we see a growth potential here. I believe Venture Capital Market will serve as an important platform to deliver financing to companies with creative ideas and ambitions for the future.

5) What do you see as the key themes and trends for your exchange and market infrastructure in 2024?

In addition to constantly improving our IT infrastructure, we think it is important to share know-how and improve cooperation through technology with fellow exchanges and industry organizations. Our teams have been writing codes locally and developing the system since 2018 after the initial implementation of BISTECH in all Borsa İstanbul markets. We also have the right to sell the BISTECH system in our region, including trading, clearing, risk management and surrounding modules. Continuous development and upgrade of the trading system infrastructure is of critical importance in our industry. After the pandemic, technology infrastructure and digital solutions have become even more important. The work of the business units and IT departments converged and became more integrated, the business and IT personnel need to understand each other and collaborate effectively to produce solutions together. We have an IT team consisting more than 200 analysts, software developers, testers and system integrators. We constantly train new software developers through custom designed mentoring programs. Over the years, we have deepened our knowledge base and experience in trading system infrastructure. Now, with BISTECH 3.0 transformation is up and running, Borsa İstanbul runs quite advanced trading technology in every aspect. We are now at a point where we want to share this know-how and experience.

In fact, we have been successfully collaborating with Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange, sharing our know-how and experience and helping them reach their goals. We delivered technology services on testing, data transfer and integration. We also provided software, training and testing support on order transmission, transaction access and surveillance systems.

Through a new agreement with Nasdaq, we started providing technical solution services to various exchanges using Nasdaq products around the world. We provide technical solution support to a number of major exchanges working with Nasdaq systems. In line with the agreement our IT staff are trained through mentee programs and they further improve themselves by working on international projects.

We continue to strive towards new initiatives and efforts to work with exchanges in Turkic Countries, Balkans and the Middle East particularly with regards to technology as well as other solutions and services.


The views, thoughts and opinions contained in this Focus article belong solely to the author and do not necessarily reflect the WFE’s policy position on the issue, or the WFE’s views or opinions.