After the London Stock Exchange snubbed Hong Kong’s $36.6 billion buyout bid earlier this month, day two of Sibos 2019 in London kicked off with PwC’s Jeremy Grant engaging in fireside chats with both LSE CEO David Schwimmer and HKEX CEO Charles Li.
With the takeover being banned from discussion, Grant questions Schwimmer about the recent deal with Refinitiv and how this partnership helps the LSE remain in an era where dynamism can continue.
“There are three key drivers of change. The first is the increasing importance of data, then multi asset class trading across markets and finally, despite market fragmentation in areas driven by politics, key drivers for market infrastructure continue to be pushing global business. Refinitiv allows us to position ourselves to welcome these trends,” Schwimmer reveals.
The demand for data is growing and this is being perceived across distribution channels. “There are five distribution channels: desktop, feeds, cloud, third party and on-premise. There has been a focus on desktop because this is a distribution channel for humans and people see it and interact with it.
“As there has been more electronic and algorithmic trading and on the flip side of the coin, an increased consumption of data, there has been a reduction of people in financial services,” Schwimmer adds and refers to the recent thousands of layoffs in equities trading business.
However, data is becoming an issue between exchanges, in regard to who owns it and the price of data - Schwimmer surmises that there is a tension here and answers Grant’s question on when regulators will start to take this seriously.
“Market data can mean a lot of different things and it is being regulated by MiFID II and MiFIR, which have had a positive impact on transparency and the distribution of data but there is room for improvement on disclosures and pricing. On a commercial basis, it works pretty well and we would not advocate a substantial change,” he says.
Testing the waters, Grant moves on to Asia and states that the rate at which wealth is being created in this region is an order of magnitude faster than anywhere else. While Refinitiv has helped the LSE expand globally, Schwimmer says that he views Shanghai as the Asian centre of finance, not Hong Kong.
Further, Schwimmer provides a note on Brexit and how the referendum has allowed the LSE to grow as an FX centre, as well as an OTC derivatives centre. “We would prefer a managed transition, but we will be prepared whatever will come. We have a diversified business, but our focus has been on our clearing business.
“There has been concern and speculation in the market about whether we would continue delivering clearing to Euro reconciliation business, but we have a temporary recognition from the Euro Commission to provide to the London Clearing House. This expires in March 2020, a year after the original Brexit deadline, and things may also change after EMIR 2.2 comes into force in late 2020.”
Li then takes to the stage to state that the world is increasing becoming polarised between the two centres of gravity: the East and the West. “We need one market infrastructure. That is why we are creating a rival market infrastructure that will be unrivalled. For decades, China has attempted to adapt to fit everyone and financial services is also copying.
“15 years ago, the broker dealer community became corrupt and this led to a restructure of the market. 130 million investors opened direct accounts with clearing, but now we are the only market that is flat. We are also the most regulatory efficient market, but the life has been sucked out of it. The middle is completely gone,” Li says.
Adding, Li states that partnering with the London Stock Exchange will support building products in the Asian time zone – the supermarket effect. “When the sun sets in the east, if we are together with LSE, we can get trillions of dollars securely migrated into the European time zone.” Grant says that this long term dream to capture a network effect has persisted; he asks Li if he will buy the New York Stock Exchange as the missing piece is the US.
Li says that the overlap of time zone makes a significant impact. He continues that London is a financial centre because of the dollar, but if they work together, there is potential for the UK capital to become a renminbi centre.