CEO Letter - March 2020

By: Nandini Sukumar, CEO, The WFE Mar 2020

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome to the March issue of Focus.

Since the last issue of our magazine, it’s fair to say that the world has changed beyond comprehension. Coronavirus (Covid-19) is now present in every single continent of the globe, affecting more than 200 countries as at 30 March 2020. The human impact of this virus is simply devastating, and we send our heartfelt thoughts and best wishes to every one of our members, affiliates and stakeholders as they navigate this complex new world, both professionally and personally.

As you are all aware, the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has introduced extraordinary volatility in global financial markets over the past couple of weeks, as participants are obliged to reassess their valuations of all investments and associated derivatives as the situation develops. In an environment where uncertainty makes it unusually hard to price assets and for market-makers to operate, exchanges are providing the only way to establish consensus on these valuations in real time. CCPs, meanwhile, continue to take prompt action with respect to the credit risk associated with participants’ open positions.

WFE members are coming together to share evidence on the impact of recent crisis measures, and over the coming weeks and months will work together to determine how the experience of the recent weeks can inform best practices and public policy going forward. We will all continue to work with global and national authorities as they seek to address the pandemic and its impact on our lives.

We are also facilitating the exchange of best practice among our members, who operate over 150 such pieces of infrastructure in over 90 countries around the world. Last week we launched a new page on our website to provide a single, reliable, comprehensive source of exchange and CCP efforts to keep operating resilient markets in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis.

We thank all the members and affiliates who have provided information for this page. Please continue to send new initiatives and actions you are taking in regard to Covid-19, so we can keep the website updated. You can do this by sending your updates to [email protected]

On a much happier note, this issue of Focus aims to showcase the leadership of some of the many dynamic, intelligent and successful women in our industry.

Earlier this month, many members of the WFE were involved in events in the US, EMEA and Asia-Pacific for the annual 'Ring the Bell for Gender Equality' initiative. For the sixth consecutive year, a global collaboration across more than 80 exchanges around the world rang opening or closing bells (or held virtual events if they had been affected by Covid-19) to celebrate International Women’s Day 2020 which was on Sunday 8 March 2020.

I have been personally inspired by many of the women CEOs at the helm of market infrastructures around the world, where exchanges on every continent have female leadership. But that’s not all we want to celebrate in Focus this month. The hallmark of an industry that cares about inclusiveness and diversity is a rich pipeline of successful women who are in the C-suite along with the CEO. So in this issue we have chosen to shine a light on some of those women.

So here in Focus, to mark International Women’s Day 2020, we asked women in leadership positions in exchanges and CCPs how they developed their careers and reached their senior positions. We are pleased to welcome Q&A from nine distinguished contributors. I am delighted to introduce them personally in the issue and list them here:

  • Narjes Farookh Jamal, Chief Operating Officer, Bahrain Bourse
  • Julie Holzrichter, Chief Operating Officer, CME 
  • Marie Chinnici-Everitt, Chief Marketing Officer, The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC)
  • Georgina Hallett, Chief of Staff, London Metal Exchange (LME)
  • Julie Becker, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Luxembourg Stock Exchange
  • Jane Kiarie, Chief Financial Officer, Nairobi Securities Exchange
  • Stacey Cunningham, President, New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)
  • Agnes Koh, Chief Risk Officer, Singapore Exchange (SGX)
  • Tinku Gupta, Chief Technology Officer, Singapore Exchange (SGX)

The WFE Research Team’s monthly insights piece examines why active retail traders are important to keep liquidity relatively high in Thai small-cap stocks.

As you all know, we announced the postponement of our Clearing & Derivatives Conference in Malta (due to be on 26 & 27 March), and the related member meetings, to 2021 due to Covid-19. We will return to Malta in the first quarter of 2021, and will extend an early invitation for you to join us at the time.

We thank you for all your efforts to keep open, and operate, resilient markets. Please keep safe and healthy at this very difficult time.

Nandini Sukumar
Chief Executive Officer