On the bench

Ana Herrero-WallaceIt was great to go back to Spain as one of the speakers at the ‘Leadership Roundtable’ organised by Global Investment Technology in Barcelona last week. The event, focusing on MiFID and the European trading landscape, was attended by a select audience of around 30 senior executives from MTFs to global heads of electronic trading and clearing entities.

It’s ironic that the conference was held in a Spanish city. Was that done deliberately, I wonder? This is a gorgeous, fun and interesting location, definitely on the map when it comes to football prowess, but Spain is by no means a pioneer in adopting any of the European regulatory changes – something Steve Grob wrote about in one of his blogs last year. After the original implementation of MiFID almost all European markets quickly fragmented. The average FFI for European indices is now just below 1.80 but, whilst the FTSE 100 has risen above 2.4, Spain’s domestic index, the IBEX 35, remains stubbornly ‘un-fragmented’ with an FFI just above 1.

The event organisers tried very hard to get members of the BME, Spain’s primary exchange, to join the debate and come to the conference, but they were decidedly absent from the starting line-up. Not altogether surprising, but it would have made for a livelier (and perhaps more controversial) discussion had they accepted!

Anyway, the conversation continued late into the night chatting about the European trading landscape versus the Spaniards’ approach – to changing regulation and to football!

Looking forward to seeing what the future will bring to my native country. Hopefully the ‘fiesta’ will cool off in exchange for some regulatory sense.

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