This newsletter aims to brief a wider community, particularly professionals in the early stage of their careers in the capital markets, on some of the issues where ICMA is engaged on behalf of its members. E-mail us at futureleaders@icmagroup.org to comment.


Regulatory updates

New podcast series: Securities Financing Transactions Regulation (SFTR) – an introduction
SFTR is designed to encourage greater transparency in repo and securities lending and borrowing markets. It will introduce an extensive reporting regime for these transactions in Europe. Listen to this podcast by Alexander Westphal from ICMA’s Market Practice and Regulatory Policy team explaining the implications of SFTR, the implementation timetable and what the ICMA SFTR Task Force is doing. We recently published our first SFTR newsletter.

New podcast series: The Prospectus Regulation explained
In this podcast ICMA’s Charlotte Bellamy introduces the changes to the EU’s prospectus regime, which are in the new Prospectus Regulation to be fully implemented in July 2019, highlighting some of the main changes which will affect the wholesale investment grade bond market. Recorded on 21 February 2019 – the possible implications of a no-deal Brexit are also briefly discussed.

We are keeping members up to date with our assessment of relevant new developments, by posting on the ICMA website. A Brexit briefing call for all members was held on 6 March. The ICMA Legal & Regulatory Helpdesk and ICMA’s staff are available to answer members’ questions. See also our briefing note on bond markets with respect to ESMA’s statement on the use of UK data in ESMA databases and performance of MiFID II calculations in case of a no-deal Brexit.
FinTech in capital markets
We are constantly updating our resource page on new fintech applications in capital markets with publicly available information on new developments in Primary, Secondary and Repo markets.

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Restoring trust in financial services
By Andreas Utermann, CEO, Allianz Global Investors

It has become accepted wisdom that the Great Financial Crisis of 2008 led to a profound breakdown in trust in financial services, which – ten years on – has proved hard to bring back. However, we may be overstating the degree to which trust existed in the years before the crisis, and understating the extent to which the industry needs to look beyond conduct and behaviours to re-establish the lasting trust of policy makers and the public at large.
In today’s advanced, complex and global economies, the degree of trust required to operate efficiently is already extraordinary. Yet more work needs to be done following Brexit and the breakdown of trust. Some themes to explore to rebuild trust must include the role of diversity and inclusion, financial literacy which is a long-term project to build understanding, and finally, tackling fees has to be on the menu
I am a firm believer that trust is a structural condition necessary to support all effective human interactions, including those that drive investment. Breaking trust means therefore breaking a foundational structure of behaviour, that leads potentially to irrational actions in search of protection or safety. To re-establish lost trust, we will have to manage expectations more closely, and more accurately (and in so doing accept that we have failed to prove our case as an industry over the last decades).
For those of us who operate in financial markets every day on behalf of our clients, we should welcome initiatives and measures that help to build trust structurally and for the long term – as this will be the only way to fulfil our mission, and to guarantee the sustainability of the industry and the growth of our economies.
The steps we need to take are multi-layered and multi-dimensional:

  • it’s about the value proposition at the level of the firm but also the working of the eco-system; and
  • it’s about delivering on the needs of society but also supporting broader and deeper societal understanding of the role of investment.

As an industry we need to take advantage of the opportunity to play our part in helping to rebuild trust structurally. It’s the opportunity to align our interests with those of clients in favour of shared successes and sustainable practices. This will not only ensure value for customers but, I would also argue, improves the long-term health and sustainability of the industry.

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Coaching for maximum performance potential
By Jill Watt, Executive Coach, The Preston Associates

As an executive coach, I am passionate about helping individuals realise their ‘best performance potential’ and how they can continually perform at that level. As leaders, I believe we first need to be fully self-aware of our own values, beliefs and strengths and how these ‘show-up’ in our performance. At times, they will help us and at other times they can hinder us in delivering our best performance.

“Before we can successfully lead others, we need to lead ourselves”.

To perform at maximum potential, I believe, leaders need to be coached, or coach themselves continually to deliver that performance; in the same way as any high performing sports player. However, no-one will be more interested in your performance than you. So, take interest daily.

Using the following coaching framework, I help my clients think about their performance and what they need to focus on or change in order to improve their performance. 

At The Preston Associates, we developed, and use, the performance equation of P=CxA²


To start this process, you have to start with the P. Ask yourself, “WHAT Performance is expected of me/us? WHAT do I/We want to deliver?” and importantly, “Is this clearly defined?”. It sometimes helps to think about, what will be different for you, your team, shareholders and customers as a result of what you will deliver (your Performance) in the next 12-18 months. Once this is defined, you can validate and share your expected Performance; and importantly regularly recognise your success against delivering it.

Secondly, think about your Capability or Competence to deliver against this Performance expectation. “Do I have the right resources? Do I need to ask for help from others? Do I need a mentor or advisor? Do I or my team need training?”

The final part of the equation - Attitude - is arguably the most important driver of our performance, hence it is squared. This is about the mindset and behaviour you bring to your Performance each day. Are you bringing your most positive mind-set to deliver your maximum performance? We cannot deliver at our best if we have the wrong behaviours or a negative mind-set. Our attitude is driven by what we think, and therefore what we feel and how we behave; and all are entirely in our control. So, listen to your ‘voice’ and check-in regularly to what you’re thinking, and hence your mind-set.

The key as leaders, who want to deliver against their maximum potential performance, is to check in to the equation continually. It can be as simple as asking daily “How am I delivering against WHAT I want to achieve or WHAT is expected of me?” and perhaps even going as far as rating yourself in percentage terms. How was my mind-set and behaviour today? And what would I change tomorrow to deliver my ‘best performance potential.’

Jill Watt is as an Executive Coach with The Preston Associates, helping boards, senior executives and teams reach their maximum performance potential.

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Plan B for a successful career- resilience & perspective
By Tim Skeet, Bank of China


Key Takeaways

Invest in your physical and mental health
Maintain a sense of proportion and perspective
Always be ready with a plan B
Be resilient, creative and don’t stop learning

There are plenty of good reasons to view working in financial services as highly attractive. Once in a job, sustaining a career and ‘succeeding’ can be challenging. Tim Skeet shares a few thoughts on navigating the sometimes bumpy road of a financial services and debt markets related career.

Starting out in the industry may be tough, but sustaining that career is tougher. Rising through the ranks requires increasing measures of hard work combined with varying degrees of political and diplomatic skill. And beyond each individual’s talent and energy, there is the hand of fate and dictates of technological and regulatory change that can collude to sabotage the greatest plans and hottest ambition.

As careers progress it’s easy to lose our sense of perspective, the context for what we do and who we are. We too frequently neglect our physical and mental health. I therefore strongly recommend taking the time to keep revaluating personal, health and career objectives, being realistic in terms of how these evolve and where they fit with life's other priorities.

Everyone, at every stage of a career needs to be resilient and ready to bounce back with a ‘plan B’. Expect the unexpected is one key piece of advice, as my own career path certainly taught me. If your employer fails and is taken over (not once but twice in my case!), when relentless cost cutting takes an unpredictable turn, or when regulatory or technological change disrupts precisely your area of expertise, adaptability and toughness are key attributes to help get you through.

Always maintain a good network of contacts and friends inside and outside the industry, they can help you identify and construct a viable plan B if the need arises. (Going along to a few Future Leaders events can help with industry contacts). Alternative plans will also demand that each of us should keep learning and being adaptable, invest in your own education online and outside office hours. Be open to embracing the art of reinvention and keep investing in your own health. 

To end on a positive note, I have lost track of what plan I am now on, but despite the vagaries of my own career, it was a lot of fun, even after the occasionally bumpy ride and it’s not over yet.

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Why phone the ICMA Helpdesk?

Good question, why would you get in touch with us through the Helpdesk if you are already plugged into the volumes of information on our website about ICMA’s rules and standards, including our FAQs on various areas of market activity, or if you already come along to one of our committees, or if you already know a member of the ICMA team who can help you?

If however, you need a bit of confidential and well-informed advice on the specific application of our best practice documentation, (that’s the ICMA Handbook for issuing securities in the primary market, the ICMA Rules and Recommendations for trading and settling securities, the Guide to best practice in the European Repo market and the Global Master Repurchase Agreement and its related opinions) or you want to discuss the really detailed implications of a particularly tricky aspect of a European regulation then the ICMA helpdesk is the place to go.

In fact the members of our Market Practice and Regulatory Policy and Legal teams who answer members’ questions via e-mail and phone, report that the Helpdesk is in regular daily use and on average are responding to up to three queries a day, more if there’s stress in the market.

If we were going to make a list of our most popular helpdesk topics then buy-ins would definitely be at the top with at least one very specific question a day on exactly how our rules work when a trade fails to settle and the buyer of securities wants to go to the market to ‘buy them in’. We review these regularly in consultation with members, you can read more about them here and you may also like to know that buy-ins are set to become mandatory under the terms of the CSDR which will probably generate a whole lot more calls to the helpdesk! A close second, are questions about the Global Master Repurchase Agreement, the most widely used documentation for trades in the repo market, and its associated legal opinions which underpin its use in more than 60 different legal jurisdictions. Often these questions are a simple as, ‘Is there a GMRA legal opinion for Romania?’ (yes there is!) or a bit more detailed ‘How do I work out what to charge the seller of the securities when they failed to deliver them?’.

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The helpdesk is a confidential service for all ICMA members, which can give you swift and direct access to our experts, who will the do their best give you guidance or point you in the right direction for the information you need.

Feel free to get in touch!

+44 20 7213 0341 (London)
+41 44 360 5237 (Zurich)
+852 2531 6590 (Hong Kong)

For legal enquiries: legalhelpdesk@icmagroup.org

For market practice and regulatory policy queries: regulatoryhelpdesk@icmagroup.org

We also just launched a Helpdesk specifically to support our work on the Green Bond Principles and Social Bond Principles:
+33 1 70 17 64 70
*The ICMA Legal & Regulatory Helpdesk provides informal guidance which should not be relied upon as legal, financial or
other professional advice. Legal or other professional advisers should be consulted for definitive guidance.


“ICMA’s Operations Certificate Programme (OCP) has helped me to better understand my clients’ needs and improve the quality of our services to them.”

As a Back-Office Analyst in a Collateral Management department, my day-to-day job involves executing securities lending trades, monitoring the lifecycle of loans and reconciling stock loans.

Since I work for an ICMA member firm, I had heard of the association and its reputation in the industry, and my employer has a longstanding tradition of sending employees to achieve their flagship qualification in the operations area: the Operations Certificate Programme (OCP).

I attended the course in 2017 to gain the extra knowledge on the theoretical aspects as well as best practices in operations and to get a benchmark qualification for my CV.

Studying the OCP is quite challenging as it covers a variety of complex topics, but the trainer is experienced, very knowledgeable and always available to help with any questions, and the exercises and simulations help with understanding the large amount of information that is given to you.

For me, the best aspect of the course is how it has helped me to better understand the market drivers: regulatory constraints; business needs and operational flows. This has impacted my understanding of my clients’ needs and expectations, which meant I could look at servicing them in the best possible way. The content is very comprehensive, so I gained a global view on operational flows, risks, best practices, & vocabulary and it gave me ideas to discuss with my colleagues. I really enjoyed the opportunity to network with colleagues from my company as well as representatives from Central Banks and even potential new clients.

A bit over a year from achieving this qualification, I value what the course has brought to my daily job: a better understanding of the relationship between the front and back office and the insights on the markets’ collateral transformation needs, which has helped me develop ideas on how to reduce operational and reputational risks in the services provided to our clients.

When I was asked if I would recommend this course, I replied that I have already recommended it to peers, mostly to more experienced people because of the depth and range of topics.

Back-Office Analyst, ICSD

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Future Leaders at the ICMA AGM and Conference in Stockholm, 15-17 May

The ICMA annual meeting is one of the major fixed income events of the year. Over 1000 ICMA members and others from all over the world will be heading to Stockholm in May for two days of discussion, debate and socialising. There are some Future Leaders’ activities planned, with a presentation at the AGM itself, followed by a Future Leaders meeting afterwards and a pre-reception drink at the conference centre on Thursday evening. Any ICMA members attending the event are welcome to come.

Each ICMA member firm has a number of complimentary passes for the AGM and Conference and Future Leaders representatives also have a free pass find out more by contacting our membership team membership@icmagroup.org

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