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ISLA Blog – Reflections of the CEO

I think that for many of us here in the UK, the political events of the past few days certainly remind us that the summer break is now well and truly behind us! Although we should not dismiss how important it is that the UK moves to some sort of political consensus, all of us have an obligation to keep our business and markets moving forward during this period of continued uncertainty. Here at ISLA, we are very mindful of how any form of Brexit could potentially change the business landscape for many of our members, and we continue to work with them and the broader industry during this period of rapid change.

The past two weeks have seen ISLA take some important steps towards developing further content and services to the industry, as well as further expanding the team. On 30 August, we published the 11th Edition of the ISLA Securities Lending Market Report. The report, which is now in its fifth year of publication continues to provide a platform for us all to better understand the forces and dynamics that are shaping our industry. Ahead of the arrival of greater data scrutiny in the form of SFTR, it is vitally important that we work with the regulatory community to ensure that they appreciate the dynamics of both our markets and its data footprint.

Any review of recent political history will underline the growing importance of data and the understanding of it in the context of planning and winning elections. To an extent, our markets are no different. As well as showcasing what securities lending data can tell us about the behaviour of the wider capital markets via the report, we are also working across the industry to develop a framework for the aggregation and communication of relative securities lending performance metrics. Here, it is important to build greater trust in these metrics that are increasingly being scrutinised by many stakeholders outside of the core industry. Quite simply, if we want to break out of the silos that have traditionally surrounded our industry, we have to start using language and communication frameworks that others can recognise and understand.

Earlier this week, we also published the second in a series of guides for various securities lending market participants and stakeholders. The Regulator & Policy Maker Guide to Securities Lending aims to provide this community with a comprehensive handbook to the industry, including the simple mechanics of the market, the various actors across the value chain, and the value of securities lending to broader capital markets. As we consider how we as an industry and as an Association think about engaging with this important group, two key areas come to mind. First, is the importance of data which I have already mentioned, as well as comments made in earlier blogs where I have referenced the words of Colm Kincaid at the Central Bank of Ireland and Steven Maijoor, the Chair of ESMA on this subject. The second is the broader topic of education. I would not for one moment suggest that policy makers and regulators do not know how our markets work, but it is important that we as an Association provide clear and concise information that reflects all aspects of its functioning. Our latest guide is designed to both educate but also and most importantly put our markets into better context for the reader.

As part of our ongoing commitment to the industry and to deliver on many of the plans that we had outlined at the beginning of 2019, we have seen a considerable expansion of the team. On 2 September we welcomed Farrah Mahmood, who joins Adrian Dale in our Regulation & Market Practice group. We have seen during the year how by combining resources around common issues and themes such as SFTR and CSDR, ISLA can deliver industry wide solutions in an efficient and economical way. As we look further into the remainder of 2019 and into 2020, we are already thinking about how we can further leverage the benefits of this collaborative development business model to create solutions that are of mutual benefit to our members firms’.

Don’t forget that our 10th Annual Post Trade Conference is less than a month away, and with the recent announcement regarding the participation of the Financial Conduct Authority at this year’s event, this is shaping up to be one of our best agenda’s yet! Look out for more agenda highlights and speaker announcements in the coming weeks.

Andrew Dyson, CEO

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