19 Sep 2018

Annual Review 2018

Europe’s wholesale markets are operating in a time of unprecedented structural change, which will continue throughout the Brexit negotiation period and beyond. AFME is committed to working with its members through these challenging times and our role as the voice of Europe’s wholesale financial markets is more important than ever.

We are acutely aware of the concerns our members and their clients face in relation to Brexit and the risks it poses for creating market fragmentation. We will continue our fact-based engagement with policymakers across the EU27 and in the UK, to make the case for how important it is that Europe’s market eco-system continues to function efficiently and effectively. AFME remains focused on fostering deeply integrated capital markets which enable our membership across the geography of Europe to serve clients with maximum efficiency and minimum disruption. Whatever the outcome of the Brexit negotiations we stand ready to support our members to transition to new regulatory and political landscapes.

Despite such challenges there are also profound opportunities. As we enter a period of relative regulatory stability, now is the time for the industry to focus on tackling longer term structural issues. As the title of this year’s Annual Review suggests, re-wiring Europe’s capital markets to ensure they are as effective as possible will be essential for financing growth and investment in years ahead including delivering a credible Capital Markets Union.

FinTech developments are revolutionising our industry, enabling enhanced risk management, driving cost savings for firms and significantly improving user experiences. There remains significant potential for firms to utilise technology collaboratively to tackle common challenges in areas such as cybersecurity, anti-money laundering, improving operational resilience and streamlining post trade processes.

In this context, AFME is well positioned to remain a trusted partner for its members to lead on addressing these industry opportunities and to work on creating more efficient, client-centric and resilient capital markets in years to come.

We are delighted to be holding our first ‘Transforming Global Capital Markets through Technology’ conference in Paris this autumn. This is an event we hope will become the leading European forum for innovation in FinTech and wholesale capital markets.

I am now approaching the end of my first year as Independent Chairman of AFME. This year has seen us continue to pay close attention to maintaining our high standards in governance, risk management and financial control on behalf of our Board and membership.

I would like to conclude by thanking my fellow Board members for their hard work and wise counsel over the last year. In particular, we are grateful to our outgoing Vice Chair Kostas Pantazopoulos of Goldman Sachs, who is stepping down from the Board after eight years. We also say farewell and thank you to founding AFME Board member, Gianluca Cugno of Banca IMI. Thank you also to Clare Woodman of Morgan Stanley, who has served in the role of AFME Treasurer with great distinction, and will now hand over that role to Ricardo Laiseca of BBVA.

Michael Cole-Fontayn

Association for Financial Markets in Europe
September 2018