Thom Thompson – John Lothian News
After the now-inevitable discussions of the financial industry’s successful taming of the threats presented by first the pandemic and then Brexit, the hour-long session ”The Future of Markets” provided a solid 25 minutes of discussion about a couple of topics likely to affect markets as time goes on: ESG and 24/7 trading.
The Europeans among the panelists highlighted their continent’s dedication to and involvement with ESG as U.K. and E.U. governments push forward with requirements for large public companies to disclose their climate risks. Edwin Schooling Latter from the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority said that the U.K. government already last year had announced a timetable for the mandatory disclosures, while Eurex Clearing’s Erik Tim Mueller repeated Eurex’s thoroughgoing commitment to ESG initiatives and hinted at upcoming developments at the exchange.
The Europeans also seemed to look forward to significant changes in the approach of the U.S. government to climate change in light of the recent change in administrations.
Alicia Crighton from Goldman Sachs in New York gave the discussion an American spin when she talked about how her company is promoting action in the “S” part of the ESG acronym. Last week Goldman pledged $10 billion toward advancing racial equality and creating economic opportunity for Black women.
Panel chairman Nick Rustad from JPMorgan Chase later asked the panelists if the 24/7 trading that characterizes cryptocurrency markets will be coming to traditional markets. Latter said that regulators will stay open-minded about continuous trading. Both Mueller and Crighton acknowledged that expanded trading hours might be what customers want but they can raise issues with collateral and payments, which are not continuously available.
Tracey Jordal from Pimco noted that industry’s recent experience with business continuity during the pandemic demonstrates that different working situations can be handled by investors and traders. None of the panelists indicated that they are looking forward to a seven-day work week.