2019 Viewpoints: Dr Urs Rüegsegger, Chairman, SIX Swiss Exchange & Chairman, WFE

By: Urs Rüegsegger, Chairman, SIX Swiss Exchange & WFE Jan 2019

It’s my honour to be at the helm of the WFE as Chairman for the next two years. I feel truly privileged and humbled by the trust put in me by the federation’s members when they voted at the WFE General Assembly in Athens, back in October 2018.

I want to start by reminding us all of the importance of exchanges and clearing houses (CCPs) in the wider financial ecosystem. Exchanges and CCPs operate in a highly regulated environment, and their business is shaped not only by market forces but also by administrative and/or political decisions.

Other players such as banks and brokers are already well organised in terms of lobbying for their interests; indeed, the influence of these lobby groups is substantial, as MiFID I and II have shown (e.g. the acceptance of Systemic Internalisers).

Financial Infrastructure is the part of the financial sector that is less well known. It is often perceived as complex and hard to understand, with the associated observation that policy makers and regulators don’t find it easy to become familiar with the particularities of our business.

Exchanges and CCPs need a seat at the table, so we can speak to make sure that we are being heard, and our concerns are being recognised. The global financial crisis and post-crisis landscape showed that exchanges and CCPs work well, both during the crisis, and in the reform period of the past decade. Not only did our industry help limit the negative impacts of the crisis, they were part of the solution. There is a saying in German: “Do good and talk about it”; and that’s exactly what we do at the WFE on behalf of exchanges and CCPs around the world.

As Chairman of the WFE, I want to emphasise that advocating the industry’s causes and facilitating and enabling the development of markets, especially in emerging markets, are the WFE’s overarching targets, and we should continue our work in these areas.

Second, and supporting the two targets mentioned above, the WFE Board of Directors has decided on its priorities for 2019/20. These include: regulatory coherence; technology-related issues including initial coin offerings (ICOs), crypto assets and cyber resilience; environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues including dual-class shares and sustainability; clarifying the nature of market data; and CCP capital issues.

A substantial part of the value of any industry organisation is the involvement and engagement of the industry leaders who form its membership base. In order to achieve our objectives, we have to make sure that all regions are fairly represented; our members, both big and small, exchanges and clearinghouses, are involved; and our industry leaders are ambassadors of the work we are doing in many ways.

Finally, I would like to talk about the importance of teamwork. The WFE is a global organisation that has a global agenda tackling global challenges that affect its members. This work is led by a small team based in London, therefore support from WFE members is a prerequisite for them to be able to invest time in relevant, time-critical topics. Intensive and constructive cooperation with members is absolutely key to the success of the WFE, and in return, the WFE will continue to deliver a good service for its members.

As we start 2019 and focus on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead I feel extremely excited to be helping to take the WFE to the next level over the next two years.