CEO Letter - April 2021

By: Nandini Sukumar, CEO, The WFE Apr 2021

Dear Colleagues,

It’s been more than a year now since the pandemic changed our lives and the way we live and work but, as spring gathers momentum and as the vaccine rollout gathers pace, we have more reason to be optimistic today than we have had for a whole year.

We look to new beginnings and perhaps to returning to some of the things we enjoyed in that past life.

And that’s reflected in the three main themes that play out in this edition of Focus

We hear first from Sohn Byungdoo, the new Chairman & CEO of KRX, operator of Korea’s market infrastructure, who lays out his vision for the exchange and his capital market. With vast experience in policy, regulation and finance, the Chairman speaks candidly and personally of being a leader in this time of crisis, of how he has drawn from past experience to strengthen the exchange and of the opportunities that lie ahead.

This is a theme echoed by the three other CEOs and Chairmen we feature this month, all of whom are leading their markets through times of change and transformation.

Sarah Al-Suhaimi, Chairperson of Tadawul, the Saudi Stock Exchange, and a member of the Selection Committee of the WFE’s Women Leaders Initiative tells us about her route to the top and offers a motto to live by. If you get an opportunity, try it, she tells us all. Don’t shy away from taking risks and living life.

In Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, Oscar Onyema, who has just become Group CEO after the exchange moves to a new structure post demutualisation, speaks of the opportunities and possibilities that lie ahead. While the shape of the post-pandemic world is still unclear, it is certain that Africa will require investment to grow and meet the aspirations of its expanding and increasingly prosperous population, he says, and the Nigerian Exchange Group is better positioned than ever to help African people and businesses achieve their financial goals.

Meanwhile Alina Aldambergen, Chairwoman of the Management Board of the Kazakhstan Stock Exchange, and another member of the Selection Committee of the WFE’s Women Leaders Initiative, reflects on a busy year for KASE where the exchange launched two new trading systems even while in lockdown. Life is short, hesitating is a waste time, she says, urging us to overcome the obstacles and keep moving forward.

Dr Alexandra Hachmeister, Managing Director, Head of Market Data + Services, Deutsche Boerse AG, is doing that just as she writes thoughtfully about the Market Data debate playing out in Europe and globally. She challenges our readers to think and ask who really benefits from the industry’s work on providing actionable, high quality data and the way that data is produced, exchanged and consumed.

This is a theme that Marc Berthoud, Head of Exchange Data Strategy at SIX Securities & Exchanges, also explores as he discusses why a consolidated tape in Europe may not be the silver bullet. There are currently very high expectations about what benefits the EU consolidated tape should deliver, he writes. But there is no silver bullet in this space and we expect some disappointment, he concludes.

In the U.S., Phil Mackintosh, Nasdaq’s distinguished Chief Economist, sits down with us to explain the nation’s Securities Information Processor, colloquially knows as the SIP, and how it really works. Though the SIP tries to set its economics in a way designed to make markets better, and more transparent, it sometimes does the reverse—encouraging fragmentation and dark trading at the expense of competition for public quotes, he writes.

Staying in the U.S., Mike McClain, Managing Director and General Manager of Equity Clearing and DTC Settlement Services, at the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC), educates us on why it’s so beneficial to shorten the settlement cycle and move to T+1In addition to reducing riskDTCC estimates that a move to T+1 could bring a 41% reduction in the volatility component of the National Securities Clearing Corporation (NSCC)’s margin.

And finally, Dr Krisada Sektrakul, Head of Sustainable Market Development Division at the Stock Exchange of Thailand, discusses the results of some fascinating analysis the exchange conducted through a survey of 58 SET-listed companies across 8 industries. The exchange has now identified 4 common basic strategies that have helped these organizations prevail during the COVID-19 pandemic. Together with continued risk management, these are proven measures in the fight, on a business level, against not just COVID-19 but any crisis and also in pursuit of true sustainability.

We hope you enjoy this edition of Focus and Spring. We’ll be back next month with a CCP-focused edition that will explore the themes arising out of our CCP & Derivatives conference that runs virtually April 19-23. 

See you then.

Nandini Sukumar
Chief Executive Officer