2019 Viewpoints: Antonio Zoido, Chairman, BME Spanish Exchanges

By: The WFE Focus Team Jan 2019

Please outline the three most important macro trends that you believe will impact the market infrastructure industry in 2019.

I believe there can be a number of events, developments, and facts of different nature.

We can expect elements of a political, commercial or macroeconomic nature impacting the volume and direction of the activities taking place in the market infrastructures. Here I include the global trade policy developments, the outcome of Brexit, the decelerating global GDP growth and the position of central banks in that respect.

A second group of elements would be related to the technological nature of our infrastructures: The confirmation of the suitability of some new technologies for substantial projects and the cyber risks potentially threatening the industry will be key in the year.

The continuation of the heavy regulatory burden, that pushes market infrastructures a closer step into becoming “agents” of the public interest, in the areas of regulation and supervision. And the foreseeable continuation of a decline in the number of listed companies in most significant market infrastructures (with some relevant exceptions), put a strong signal of attention on the very nature of the market infrastructures, their prevailing business models and the unavoidable reconsideration of their role in the financial system.

The WFE’s Sustainability Principles (launched in October 2018) and annual ESG survey show us that more and more exchanges and CCPs are taking a leadership role in promoting the sustainable finance agenda. How is your business taking a more sustainable approach to the financial system?

BME’s view of sustainability is based on our commitment to companies, investors and all other parties involved in securities markets. Since 2006 BME has joined several international initiatives, e.g.  the European Code of Conduct for Clearing and Settlement,  the Code of Best Tax Practices, the United Nations Global Compact and the United Nations’ SSE Initiative. In 2016 the Company created the "Spanish Stock Exchange’s Voluntary Market Guidance for Listed Companies for Corporate Reporting on ESG Information".  Examples of our commitment are projects such as Green Bonds, sustainability indexes and the National Registry of Greenhouse Gas Emission Rights.

With regards to Green Bonds, BME is the world’s 3rd most sustainable stock exchange according to a report released by the UN’s SSE Initiative. It analyses more than 4,300 companies listed on 35 stock exchanges and provides a snapshot of disclosure practices for seven sustainability-related indicators.

In your view, what’s the technology most likely to disrupt global capital markets in the next 12 months?

Exchanges are at the forefront of technology innovation and therefore are attentive to the latest IT developments and, in fact, stock exchanges led the race to adopt electronic trading. They are not focussing on just one type of technology but on multiple ones which they are exploring, such as DLT, robotics, algos, big-data, voice biometrics, artificial intelligence, digitalisation of processes etc.

What are the key strategic initiatives you’re working on at the moment? 

BME recently presented its 2019-2021 Strategic Plan, setting out the Group’s key strategic initiatives to become THE infrastructure solution provider for financial institutions in Spain. It plots a new growth path supported by a solid management model, the strengthening of the business areas, organic revenue growth of 4% p.a. until 2021 and prudent and focused inorganic growth. Its key pillars are diversification and customer focus. We will put BME on a new growth path while continuing to sustain and enhance our core business, maintaining cost discipline and dividend policy.In Spain we aim to sustain and further grow our core business, bring additional services to our existing customers. In Spain and abroad we aim to open up new customer groups with new offerings. BME is keen to increase its presence and commercial relationships in Latin America.