Nine decades of growth: the Luxembourg Stock Exchange celebrates its 90th anniversary 

  • Over the past 90 years the Luxembourg Stock Exchange (LuxSE) has grown from being a local bourse for domestic companies, to becoming the world’s leader in the listing of international securities
  • Recently, the Luxembourg Green Exchange, operated by LuxSE, has become the biggest platform for sustainable financial instruments
  • Will Siri deliver the anniversary speech on LuxSE’s 100th anniversary?

The world is changing fast and exchanges must adapt accordingly. “Big data, driverless cars, climate change, crypto-currencies, smart grids, shifting geopolitical powers are becoming our day-to-day reality. There is place for nimble and focused players, such as LuxSE, provided we clearly identify and anticipate the key determining factors for the ten years to come”, says Frank Wagener, President of the Board of LuxSE.

Founded in 1928, LuxSE is evolving in line with Luxembourg’s economic agenda: with a strong focus on sustainability, green finance, China and Fintech.

“The Luxembourg Stock Exchange is a key player of our financial centre and its ecosystem. Its development over the last 90 years mirrors that of the Luxembourg’s economy, punching above its weight, with a strong emphasis on international markets, constant innovation and, more recently, Fintech and sustainable finance”, remarks Pierre Gramegna, Minister of Finance of Luxembourg. 

“We operate in an extremely complex environment influenced by diverse factors and technologies, which sometimes even work against each other. With our innovative, first-mover attitude, we have a huge impact on capital markets despite the small size of our local market. But we should not rest on our laurels”, comments Robert Scharfe, CEO of LuxSE.

With this in mind, we asked ourselves some hard-to-answer questions: What will the future of capital markets look like ten years from now? Will it be Siri, Alexa or other form of artificial intelligence giving the opening speech at our 100th anniversary? Will finance become 100% sustainable? Where will China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative take us in the coming decade?

To answer these pertinent questions, we asked four experts to share what, in their opinion, the most disruptive factors will be. According to Dr Keyu Jin from the London School of Economics: “The financial history of yesterday was written by the U.S. and the great recession. The financial history of today and tomorrow will be written by the emergence of China.” She believes that Europe is not prepared for what the future will bring.

Nasir Zubairi, CEO of The LHoFT, believes that: “History is littered with automation and innovation. At no time has this led to mass unemployment. We, humans are incredible in our pliability and this strength will help us adapt and succeed in the era of AI”.

The perspective of Siobhan Cleary, Head of Research & Public Policy, World Federation of Exchanges believes that transitioning to a more sustainable society is our most pressing challenge. “The finance sector has a crucial role to play in enabling this transition”.

Raja Palaniappan, CEO, Origin, believes that: "While it's obviously exciting to witness the rapid developments in the technology and fintech sectors, it's important to remember that capital markets have always been, and will always be a human business."

For financial institutions, and for exchanges in particular, to stay competitive, we need to take stock of all these trends and embrace them to ensure the best service delivery and to keep costs in check. “Our slogan is ‘always in motion’, we will keep on moving. That’s what makes our job challenging and fascinating at the same time,” concludes Robert Scharfe.

Bios of the speakers

Siobhan Cleary, Head of Research & Public Policy, World Federation of Exchanges
Speech: Sustainable finance: Securing our future sustainability
Siobhan is Head of Research and Public Policy at the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE). In this role she coordinates the work of the WFE membership in the area of sustainability and also drives research in these areas. Siobhan published research on stock exchanges and sustainability for the UNEP FI Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System and was Director of Strategy and Public Policy at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. Siobhan has an LLB from the University of Cape Town and an MA in International Economics from Johns Hopkins University. She is also a 2011 Yale World Fellow.
Dr Keyu Jin, Associate Professor, London School of Economics
Speech: China and the world
Keyu Jin is a professor of economics at LSE, specialising on international macroeconomics and the Chinese economy. She is also on two working committees for the China banking regulatory committee, as well as an advisor to two fintech companies in China. She published in the FT, she was a columnist for Project Syndicate as well in the main economics and finance magazines in China. She is from Beijing and has a BA MA Phd from Harvard.
Raja Palaniappan, CEO, Origin
Speech: Capital markets of the future
Originally from San Francisco, Raja spent the first 7 years of his career as a corporate bond and derivatives trader in London, working on the trading floors of Lehman Brothers, Nomura, and most recently at Credit Suisse.
The idea for Origin was conceived after observing the frustrations of clients during the corporate bond new issuance process and being inspired by other successful examples of the transformative power of technology in financial services. Raja holds electrical engineering and biology degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Nasir Zubairi, CEO, LHoFT
Speech: Robots will never cry
Nasir is CEO of The LHoFT – The Luxembourg House of Financial Technology, a public/private sector initiative to drive Fintech innovation in Luxembourg.
Nasir has worked in financial services for 20 years. He spent 13 years working within capital markets at RBS, ICAP, HSBC and EBS. As an entrepreneur, Nasir has built multiple Fintech businesses. He has advised the boards of leading financial institutions, central banks and governments. Nasir is included in the “Top 40 innovators shaping the future of financial services – 2014” by The Wall Street Journal/Financial News. Nasir has a BSc from the London School of Economics and is a Sloan Fellow from London Business School.