CEO Letter – August 2021

By: Nandini Sukumar, CEO, The WFE Aug 2021

Our August edition is indeed a special edition – it’s our sustainability special edition. In it, we explore a variety of the substantive and pioneering projects WFE members around the world are doing to make markets greener and more inclusive.

Ed Knight, Vice Chairman of Nasdaq, reflects on the challenges of the past 18 months and gives us all a framework for post-pandemic markets. As we slowly emerge from the greatest human and economic challenge of our lifetimes and learn exactly how the world will look different post-pandemic, we know one thing is true, just as it was 60 years ago; the importance of strong, transparent, and innovative markets has never been clearer, and the responsibility of the WFE to sustain them never greater, he writes.

Halfway across the world, Cai Jianchun, President, Shanghai Stock Exchange, concurs, writing about the path to a green China and the role of capital markets in decarbonising the future. In 2020, among the newly-listed companies on the SSE main board, four are in the new energy, energy conservation and environmental protection sectors, while for the SSE STAR Market, there were 20 IPOs in these sectors.

Claire Dorrian, Head of Sustainable Finance, London Stock Exchange Group, writes evocatively of the power of taxonomies. With increased attention comes increased scrutiny for the green economy landscape, and for the corporates and funds that exist within it. The application of green taxonomies provides common language among the companies raising capital and the investors allocating it, she says.

For Brian Matt, Head of ESG Advisory, New York Stock Exchange, data is the key. NYSE and parent company ICE are deploying their combined weight to offer companies and investors almost real-time, decision-useful ESG data across a universe of 3,500 companies. Matt describes how it works.

We stay with data as Lucas Rabiot, Senior Sustainability Data Analyst, Luxembourg Stock Exchange tells us how fragmented and unstructured data has long been the primary obstacle to meaningful sustainability analysis. By harmonising this vast and disparate universe of information, LGX DataHub sets about solving that problem, he writes.

Marion Leslie, Head Financial Information, SIX Group, focuses on gender. Switzerland still has a way to go to achieve gender equality, especially in the workplace, and quotas as well as ratings can be a good “external push” for companies towards more diversity and inclusion. The new SPI Gender Equality Index, one of a range of new ESG indices that SIX recently launched for the Swiss Market, is just such a push for Swiss companies and for SIX itself, she writes.

In Brazil, the ESG agenda is increasingly strategic for financial markets, with more and more investors, consumers and companies realising that in the short, medium or long run their business activities will be impacted by environmental, social or governance (ESG) issues, or by all three at once. That’s the reason B3’s carbon credits market has taken off, writes Fábio Zenaro, Director, OTC Products and New Business Development, B3.

 Russell KarasSenior Director, Energy Products, CME Group writes that market-based voluntary offset projects offer the opportunity for more near-term solutions on the long road to a net-zero economy. He tells us what CME is doing to find those solutions.

Developing ESG in Asia requires a comprehensive and collaborative approach that takes into account varying levels of development across countries, industries and corporates. To that end, Singapore Exchange has developed a multi-asset sustainability platform to catalyse change and deliver sustainable growth, writes Herry Cho, SGX’s Head of Sustainability and Sustainable Finance.

 Igor Marich, the Moscow Exchange’s Managing Director for Sales and Business Development, reflects on the role of financial literacy in inclusive growth as retail investors flock to the market. The Moscow Exchange will remember 2020 as the beginning of a golden age in retail investing, as individuals across Russia are drawn to the markets by financial literacy campaigns and a flurry of new products, he writes.

In neighbouring Kazakhstan, Natalya Khoroshevskaya, Kazakhstan Stock Exchange Deputy Chairwoman, chronicles the steady progress towards implementing ESG goals, culminating in the country’s first sustainable bonds. The journey is just beginning, she writes, in a call to arms.

This theme is echoed by José Antonio Martínez, Chief Executive Officer of Chile’s Bolsa de Santiago. With the recent launch of an ESG-focused index and ETF, the exchange is taking major steps towards a sustainable investment future, he writes.

Staying with emerging markets, we hear from Shameela Soobramoney, Chief Sustainability Officer of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. She writes of how the exchange has implemented a four-pillar strategy to drive its sustainable finance vision while balancing the unique needs of emerging-market economies.

And finally, the WFE has published its annual ESG survey for 2021. Read on for more insights and a view across the industry.

See you in September.

Nandini Sukumar
Chief Executive Officer