In total 225 participants from 64 countries attended our event, including some of the dominating players in the industry, such as Nasdaq, Deutsche Börse, Shanghai Stock Exchange and Japan Exchange Group. More than 70% of the attendees were CEOs or Managing Directors of their companies.
The content of the presentations and panels was as diverse as the participants. The starting point of the discussion, expressed in the first keynote speech by Brian Taylor from B.T.A. Consulting, was the crystal clear statistical data showing that the traditional global primary and secondary regulated markets are stagnating, as the positive trend in Asia is cancelled by flat or slightly decreasing evolution in the Americas and Europe, particularly in terms of turnover and new issues. There are widespread reasons for this such as the fear of transparency, insufficient equity based incentives coupled with pro-debt tax regimes.
One of the main approaches to stimulate growth of the capital market activity was very appropriately synthesised by Mr. Hannes Takacs, the EBRD representative and it consists in broadening the scope of the traditional stock exchange towards a ‘financing hub for companies’ concept. In a nutshell, stock exchanges should be able to assist companies throughout all stages of development and to expand their product range for companies, including crowdfunding, platforms for private companies, SMEs and Growth markets with more lax and flexible requirements and finally, at the end of the chain, the regulated markets dominated by the large and liquid blue chips we are all very much aware of. At Budapest Stock Exchange, we stand by this view and much of our efforts go towards developing an ecosystem appropriate and genuinely useful for all companies, including the SMEs.
Another interesting topic of debate was the growth of the global derivatives markets. In particular, the best way to increase the participation of the individual, retail investors is a challenge many exchanges are facing. Technology is on the front line, looking for ways to pass some of the main hurdles particularly in post-trading (clearing) and risk management.
A trend which could not be ignored at such an event, is the spectacular growth of the ETF industry. Top level representatives from Euronext, Euroclear, Commerzbank, ETFGI presented some very useful insights into the industry:. Last year, for the first time, the assets under management of the ETF industry exceeded the hedge fund industry and in the first two months of 2017, ETFs globally witnessed inflows amounting to roughly 30% of the entire 2016. The continuous difficulties of the traditional buy-side industry to outperform constantly its benchmarks, the lower costs, the flexibility and the very easy access of the investors to a wide range of products turn ETFs into a strong growth driver of the global capital markets. The Budapest Stock Exchange representatives held several meetings with leading ETF experts at the event and we are very much focused on finding the best solution to be part of these unstoppable global transformations
Last, but by no means least, technology developments were again very much in the focus. Blockchain innovation has been for the past 2 years on everybody’s lips, but this time we got the chance to hear from institutions which made advanced steps towards actually implementing solutions based on the blockchain technology. The Royal Mint, the Russian National Settlement Depository and Kranken Digital Asset Exchange shared with the audience their experiences in this topic.
Budapest Stock Exchange also took the center stage as our Chairman and CEO, Mr. Richárd Végh covered the topic of ‘How to develop a local market in the current global environment’. Our insights into our recent progress, plans and approaches on developing an equity market culture, engaging all local participants and collaborating with the important state stakeholder shed a good light on the activity of Budapest Stock Exchange and, we hope, convinced all international peers and partners about the relevancy and the positive long-term prospects of the Hungarian Capital Market. We are very proud that the event proved to be a success and the overwhelming feedback from the participants was very appreciative, while our beautiful city gained a few more fans around the world. We are definitely looking forward to meeting our partners from around the world at the next year’s event.