CEO letter - September 2020

By: Nandini Sukumar, CEO, The WFE Sep 2020

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome to the September edition of Focus. As autumn arrives in the northern hemisphere and the leaves begin to change, our existence continues to be framed by the pandemic. And yet there is good news amid the bad. The daily working environment and recession continue to pose great concern, but exchanges continue to do their critical job supporting and developing the global economy. It’s an achievement of very considerable significance and it should make us all proud.

September’s special issue is dedicated to financial literacy as we look forward to World Investor Week (October 5-11) and the WFE’s annual Ring the Bell for Financial Literacy event. It is cheering to see so many participants and the enthusiasm underlined by contributions from 14 exchanges detailing their efforts to reach out and educate their citizenry.

Financial literacy has never been an optional add-on for exchanges and CCPs. We have always invested in this work because the industry believes in inclusive growth, and that markets-based financing helps pave the way to sustainable economic expansion. Financial literacy is also dear to us as the nature and ethos of public markets enshrines investor protection at the heart. Education is part of that mandate and a significant factor in developing markets to maturity and beyond. All market infrastructure, whether large or small, whether in a developed market or a frontier market, prioritises investor education at the heart of their business. The pandemic and economic crisis makes this even more important.

Once upon a time, investor engagement probably involved a visit to the exchange. That expanded once the digital age arrived, allowing members to reach multiples of people remotely. Yet when the coronavirus barged into our lives, exchanges were forced to further adapt at light-speed. Our members detail just how effective they have been at making this switch.

Denzil Jenkins explains that while London Stock Exchange Plc has supported companies and sovereigns through the pandemic, it is also keeping sight of the critical need to support the capabilities of today’s investors. Like so many WFE members, the exchange tries to reach tomorrow’s investors, the young people who will one day rely on investments to fund retirement and to support their daily lives.

Buenos Aires Exchange has a long history of educating domestic investors and is rapidly adjusting to the new requirements of a world at war with the coronavirus as South America battles on.

Deutsche Börse ponders Germany’s lack of equity culture and details how it’s working to turn things round through innovations like the Deutsche Börse Visitor Centre

There’s also a wonderful sense of energy from younger exchanges with younger populations.

Bahrain Bourse has a string of schemes to engage, from its TradeQuest programme for young people to its Investment Academy, which are proving very successful.

Ahmad Aweidah, CEO of Palestine Exchange, underlines the need for financial literacy, noting that exchanges must play a pivotal role in protecting investors not only through regulation, but also via offering investor education, as a tool to complement regulations.

Santiago Exchange writes of how it’s supplying investors and market participants with tools to make better investment decisions while Covid-19 pandemic has strongly impacted activity levels and global economies.

It’s great to see new and innovative developments too, as described by Dr Mohamed Farid Saleh, Executive Chairman of The Egyptian Exchange, who tells of an imaginative cartoon series, Sherif and his colleagues. Such work illustrates how WFE members are not tied only to conventional teaching but are creatively finding ways to engage.

The Philippine Stock Exchange, Inc tells the story of how it helped a cruise ship worker who lost her job, while Intercontinental Exchange lays out the extensive, ground-level work it performs at schools from London to Atlanta.

The Taiwan Stock Exchange reveals how it fosters a very high level of investor engagement, in a country with 11 million investor trading accounts among a population of 23.5 million, while Korea Exchange chronicles its extensive work on investor protection.

Luxembourg Stock Exchange has generated a lot of interest through its new LGX Academy, designed to fill the gap in current sustainable finance education, which begins work this month through online courses.

Mpho Ledwaba, Head: Marketing and Retail Development at Johannesburg Stock Exchange emphasises that in his diverse country, inclusion is a key need and helps explain the organisation’s work to empower women.

Ermek Mazhekenov, Deputy Chairman of the Management Board of the Kazakhstan Stock Exchange tells us about work to reach investors in this developing country and the thirst for information from trading to company start-up courses.

As we look to the months ahead, the WFE and its members are continuing to find ways to help our stakeholders overcome the crisis. As an industry we believe that it’s partnership, engagement and cooperation that will help us rebuild our world.

Nandini Sukumar
Chief Executive Officer