INTERVIEW | A growing desire, among Swedish market participants, to harmonise the country’s post trade system with the rest of Europe, is among major shifts noted over the last five years by Sandra Holmqvist, Chief Business Officer of Euroclear Sweden, the CSD. But first, she chooses to highlight her nation’s strong recent performance on initial public offerings (IPOs) and shareholding.
“There are numbers showing that almost 40 percent of European IPOs during 2020 and 2021 took place in the Nordic countries, with Sweden having more than the other Nordic countries together,” says Sandra Holmqvist.
“It’s a testament to how strong and deep the Swedish market is. Just being part of an ecosystem that promotes the growth of corporations, with that dynamic in the financial market, is quite interesting.”
My 5-year observations
Sandra Holmqvist, Chief Business Officer Financial Institutions, Euroclear Sweden
• A high number of IPOs in the Swedish market and a growing number of shareholders.
• Increased willingness and interest, among Swedish market participants, in standardising post trade in accordance with European standards.
• How the financial industry’s concept of security and safety has matured.
The country’s 2.74 million unique shareholders per end-2022 make for the highest number since the time series began in 2000. In 2022, growth was highest among female shareholders.
“It indicates a new perspective on social sustainability, that it includes true access and equality in the financial market.”
“Stronger common understanding”
As her second point, Sandra Holmqvist observes a growing interest among her country’s securities-market participants to push post-trade processes in the direction of European standards. In 2019, central bank Riksbanken raised the suggestion of joining the EU’s settlement system Target2-Securities, “T2S” (though decisions are still pending).
“That was a catalyst to start taking steps on this transformative journey. We have many years to go but there is a much stronger common understanding and commitment in the market than I have previously experienced. It also increases the chances that we will progress and succeed as a market. That is absolutely a shift.”
Security – from paper to concrete
Thirdly, Sandra Holmqvist sees the understanding of security having deepened among financial institutions.
“The events of the recent years – the pandemic, the invasion of Ukraine, the recent increase of terror threat, the ever-changing type of cyber threats, and all of that – have made the question of stability and safety reach a completely different level,” she says. “What we previously treated as perhaps more theoretical risks, or part of a paper exercise that we did under business resilience, has now suddenly become a much more plausible event. So, that integration of risk awareness and crisis planning has become a much more natural part of everyday work. So, I think we as an industry have matured. Stability is suddenly a valuable asset and it’s really important that we continue on that path.”