Key takeaway from FIX EMEA 2020: Finance needs a community

Published on 22 September 2020

This year’s FIX EMEA Trading conference was held virtually for the first time, and showcased a range of discussions. From the drive towards environmental, social and governance (ESG) finance amongst regulators and investors alike, the impact of COVID-19 on the regulatory agenda, to updates from heads of trading across the globe, clear themes were visible.

Rebecca Healey and Matt Coupe, co-chairs of the EMEA Regional Committee, tell us why the need for a community in finance has never been greater, and how the FIX Community can support firms in moving through the difficult conditions afflicting markets this year.

Dan Barnes Welcome to Trader TV, I’m Dan Barnes. Joining me today are Rebecca Healey and Matt Coupe, the co-chairs of the EMEA regional committee, to give us an update on the fixed trading conference that occurred on 18th of September. Some takeaways from that event, and some lessons that the industry. Matt, Rebecca, welcome to Trader TV.

Rebecca Healey Thank you.

Matt Coupe Hi, Dan.

Dan Barnes They had a great time on Friday at the FIX conference. I wanted to ask you, first of all, what were the highlights for you?

Rebecca Healey For me, the key thing that stood out loud and clear was global collaboration within the industry, so in actual fact, talking to heads of buy-side; it doesn’t matter whether you sit in Sydney, London or New York, you’re still facing the same challenges in making that shift to working from home. Will the technology stand up? It did. You know there’s huge positives; people talking about reduced market hours, improved mental health. But now it’s sort of looking at the elements that don’t work; how do you manage a team? How do you bring up your junior members of staff? How do they get career progression? These are elements that we now need to look at and recognize as challenges the industry is going to face.

Dan Barnes Absolutely. Matt?

Matt Coupe The amazing thing was the take-up on the day; we had over 1600 people registered on the day we had thousands of people dialing in a number of emails that Rebecca and I have had over the last few days, we’ve been actually a virtual platform, was really accessible, is really good. I got to network with more people than I do normally at a big event. It was humbling and really real positive experience. And I think people weren’t dwelling on the challenges that we face. It was actually being collaborative in terms of how do we solve this? The golden moment was with Greg Yanco from ASIC, where he said, ‘look, we’ve got a huge amount of over-implementation duplicate fields which were needed to be implemented multiple times that mean the same thing, but in different regions, and ASIC kicking off a program to reduce that, cut the red tape and deliver more effectiveness’.

Dan Barnes And then, Rebecca, do you think there are any specific lessons that attendees will have learned?

Rebecca Healey Firstly, was the regulatory commonalities that are starting to emerge. Greg’s comments on the need to cut red tape, that was reiterated by Tillman Leuder later from the European Commission, Phillip Guillot from IMF. There is that need to become much more agile, particularly in relation to ESG and climate change, but it was also the fact that we’re probably going to see further regulation. There was a call to arms by the MEP, Paul Tang, just in terms of him suggesting that the industry really needs to get behind the economic recovery post-COVID-19. They’re actually demanding a cultural change within financial services that I think many within financial services would welcome. And FIX is the perfect opportunity to improve the collaboration between interdisciplinary disciplines and actually make that change.

Dan Barnes What do you think the fixed community as a whole has taking away from the event?

Matt Coupe We can, as an industry, do things differently. We can challenge and change things. We should be looking to collaborate and we shouldn’t be stuck in our region. We need to make things a global discussion that will be a lot more effective and will deliver more efficiency in our markets and a better outcome for the end-investor.

Rebecca Healey As we move to a more sustainable environment and the need for those sort of ESG, the data, the reporting; that’s going to move the industry onto another level when it comes to financial services and what’s required. On the ESD panel, they were talking about the level of data that they now need to incorporate, which is non-financial data. It’s rapidly becoming a spaghetti of information, and now more than ever, we need the ability to have a standardized framework, best practice to make sure that people can get the relevant information to where it needs to be. So we’ve really got an opportunity here to level set. To work out what we did well in MiFID II, and how we can take that forward. I think it was very telling actually in the wrap-up session that we had with Larry Tabb, where historically, obviously, we’ve received a lot of regulation out of the US. Now it’s going in the opposite direction, so some of the ideas that were being discussed and has been a European platform over the last few years are actually now going stateside. So this idea of a financial transaction tax, periodic auctions, it’s reiterating the global nature of our markets and now we actually need a global response.

Matt Coupe I think the other thing is data, data, data. Whether you’re looking at the ESG market, whether it be fixed income markets or equities markets, to understand what’s going on, feeding into the consolidated tape and addressable liquidity. You know, you’re looking at it from a fixed perspective. Data needs to have those standards. It needs to have the business application of, ‘what does the data mean?’ So you’ve got that commonality in that real, core, strong demand from data for the trading participants in the industry. We need to make sure we sort that out and we provide that context to it.

Rebecca Healey Yeah, the data has to mean something to be of value, and it can only mean something if it’s accurate and it’s being interpreted in a similar manner. And I think, again, that’s really where FIX comes into its own.

Dan Barnes That’s excellent. Rebecca, Matt, thanks very much and thanks for a great event.

Matt Coupe Thank you

Rebecca Healey Thank you Dan.

Dan Barnes I’d like to thank Matt and Rebecca for their insights today, the FIX Committee for organizing the events on the 18th of September, and of course you for watching. To catch up on our other shows, or to subscribe to our newsletter, go to TraderTV.NET or ETFTV.NET.