Exchanges have never faced more challenges and opportunities than they do today.  

John Lothian News sat down with six exchange CEOs at the 2014 FIA Boca Conference to talk about their views on four main topics: competition, regulation, growth and technology. Here’s what Jeff Sprecher, CEO of the IntercontinentalExchange Group (ICE), had to say about each.

“It’s interesting to me that regulators today are trying to introduce more global competition when in reality, for those of us who are in the business, we realize that competition has never been more fierce and more global,” Sprecher said. “And frankly, we are all trying to look at the same opportunity set and trying to use our current positioning like never before.”

Sprecher said ICE’s expansion, especially with the headline grabbing purchase of NYSE Euronext last year, delivers two things: geographic and product diversity.

“Within each of those acquisitions we’ve done, we’ve launched a lot of new products, put a lot of new technology in, revamped businesses so they are much more competitive than they were when they were stand alone,” he said.

Sprecher added that he foresees more merger and acquisition activity as firms look for new ways to bolster and strengthen their businesses.

On regulation, Sprecher said that the implementation of new rules is “really affecting our customers.”

“Although there is a G-20 commitment to have regulation be somewhat homogenous across the whole world, the reality is that its being introduced in its own way at each location,” Sprecher said. “What you’ve seen my company do is set up infrastructure in regions that meet the needs of local customers.”

On technology, Sprecher is trying to balance the goal of making access to its markets easier, while also increasing security.

“There are a lot of third parties that attach to our system, putting trades in and taking data out all of which could be weak links,” he said.

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