2019 Viewpoints: Dr Theodor Weimer, CEO, Deutsche Börse AG

Published 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?

The macro trends that will most shape our industry in 2019 are digitisation, geopolitical tensions and regulation.

First, we are in the midst of profound change driven by digitisation, and only those infrastructure providers taking the right strategic decisions today will succeed tomorrow. Digitisation will continue to make markets more efficient and transparent, for instance, FX trading will further move towards electronic platforms. Second, geopolitical tensions and trade wars bear a high risk to practically all globalised industries and markets, while it is also true that market infrastructure providers benefit from high volatility. Third, as a consequence of regulatory change, cleared transactions will increasingly become the norm.

The WFE’s Sustainability Principles (launched in October 2018) and annual environmental, social & governance (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?

The success of the global economy and the financial industry in particular is closely interwoven with the development of sustainable financial structures and the respective regulatory framework. As an international infrastructure provider, Deutsche Börse integrates ESG-aspects along the entire value chain and further develops sustainable products and services. We see it as our role and responsibility to encourage new and innovative investment strategies and foster the exchange with stakeholders from all sectors to further drive the topic. This has to happen on an international, European and national level.

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

The digital economy is characterised by decentralisation so that there will be more peer-to-peer governed marketplaces and fewer intermediaries. In that regard, DLT/blockchain technology could potentially be disruptive to capital markets and will most certainly cut across our whole value chain. However, DLT/blockchain technology is not yet mature. A sound legal and regulatory framework must be shaped and the technological scalability needs to be elevated to the next level. The technology will bring up market-ready applications and lead to high efficiency gains and new revenue pools. Will there be major shifts within the next 12 months? It will rather be a matter of years, not months.

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

Deutsche Börse is playing in the Champions League in the exchange market business - and that’s where we want to stay. In our programme 'Roadmap 2020' we have outlined three strategic areas. First, our overall objectives are to strengthen Deutsche Börse’s existing strategy through stronger and faster exploitation of secular as well as cyclical growth opportunities. Second, we are planning programmatic investments into selected growth areas. Third, we are increasingly investing in digital technologies. These are: DLT/blockchain, big data/advanced analytics, the cloud technology and robotics/automation/artificial intelligence.