With a background in the exchange and post-trade industry that spans more than two decades, Daniela Peterhoff is a familiar name to many in the industry. Now, she is taking the next career step at Nasdaq. Based at the company´s European headquarters in Stockholm, she recently took on the role of President of Nasdaq Clearing, the company´s Nordic CCP. She will also be responsible for the strategic planning for Nasdaq´s wider European Markets operations.
With the war in Ukraine entering its fourth month, inflation fears continuing to dampen investor spirits and several key elections taking place across the world in 2022, it would be easy to apply a gloomy filter to any discussion about the current market landscape. Instead, Daniela Peterhoff wants to focus on the opportunities lying ahead, both for the CCP she has headed since the beginning of March – as well as the wider exchange industry.
“Coming out of the pandemic, I believe we all expected and maybe hoped for a bit of calm on the markets and something that at least resembles ‘back to normal’ – but instead I think we have to realize that uncertainty is becoming the new normal – and in such a world the role of CCPs as risk mitigators becomes increasingly important,” says Peterhoff.
When the pandemic broke out in 2020, Peterhoff was a partner at consultancy Oliver Wyman leading their Global Market Infrastructure business. She witnessed first-hand how exchanges and financial institutions across the world quickly adapted to the new ways of working in an almost completely remote environment.
“Advanced systems designed to handle millions of transactions every second were suddenly controlled from people´s bedrooms, and we went from meeting in conference rooms to seeing maybe a dozen people on the same, tiny laptop screen. And all of this almost completely without any downtime. This is probably not news to anyone in the industry, but it´s a fantastic accomplishment and it was amazing to observe,” Peterhoff says. “It made me confident that we are ready to take on almost every global challenge, which unfortunately was almost immediately confirmed when Russia invaded Ukraine with renewed market uncertainty as a consequence.”
Looking forward, Peterhoff’s main ambition in her role leading Nasdaq´s Nordic clearing is to continue building a new and improved CCP on the foundation that her predecessor and her team built following the 2018 default of one of its members.
“The team has done an amazing job further improving Nasdaq Clearing´s risk management framework. What makes me the most impressed is how closely knitted this effort has been to the dialogue we have had with our members. A default event is of course never a good experience, but I am confident that we have come out stronger and that the bond with our members is even more robust today compared to five years ago.”
“As a first course of action, my management team and I will spend a lot of time over the next few months to define what Nasdaq Clearing should look like five years from now. We look at all business areas, from our service offerings and technology to operations and customer relations. We are the CCP in Europe with the broadest asset class coverage and over the past years, we have together successfully developed a sound risk management. Now we are asking ourselves how to evolve to continue filling our critical role for Nasdaq and our European Markets business in the future, whilst also tapping into new growth areas.”
In the world around her business, the post-trade landscape continues to evolve through consolidation as well as entrance by new players, both in Europe and on the global scene.
“I’m excited to work in this field as we see the entrance of completely new clearing models based on distributed ledger technology. I want to explore what we can do to support the important focus on our environment and I will work for us to be part of the ever-changing landscape through acquisitions and partnerships,” says Peterhoff.
In addition to leading Nasdaq Clearing, Peterhoff has also been appointed by Nasdaq´s President of European Markets Bjorn Sibbern to lead strategy development for his business, including a wide spectrum of markets, from equity markets in seven countries, fixed income and derivatives trading, data products and ESG services that cross into all parts of Nasdaq´s business, in Europe and globally.
“Basically, we are following the same process as with the clearing house, but on a much, much larger scale. The European Market management team has helped me set the framework, and we have then made sure to invite all 500+ employees within the business to allow everyone to provide input.
“Once we have agreed on the strategy forward, this will of course be fed upwards in the organization to make sure we are aligned with the broader Nasdaq strategy. It´s a fantastic process to be part of, being able to get to hear all the valuable thoughts and ideas from across the business,” says Peterhoff.
What the strategy process will land in is too early to share, but one thing Peterhoff is sure of: sustainability will continue to be at the center of Nasdaq´s European growth ambitions.
“Nasdaq already is a major European technology company and markets operator, and we continue to make considerable investments in our business to continue to grow our footprint in Europe. As for ESG, we are looking at how to implement sustainable thinking from every angle of the business, from trading to market data and clearing – always with the ambition to support both growth and Nasdaq´s purpose to foster inclusive growth and prosperity,” says Peterhoff. “Financial markets have an almost unparalleled opportunity to support ESG efforts by proving the funding needed.”
In addition to organic growth, Peterhoff is also responsible for identifying European M&A opportunities.
“We are always interested in looking at opportunities that would help us grow further into Europe, and our recent investment in carbon removal marketplace Puro.earth, which I know Focus covered recently, is a great example that showcases how Nasdaq is able to bring its capabilities, network and knowledge into a partnership within a new and promising area and create real value. I hope to be part of more transactions like that in the future.”
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.