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Two Key Factors That Will Determine the Trajectory for Market Infrastructure Operators

As TradeTalks recently returned to the Singapore Fintech Festival for its fifth year of coverage, Nasdaq Global Markets Reporter Jill Malandrino spoke with Roland Chai, EVP, Marketplace Technology at Nasdaq, about some of the major trends impacting market infrastructure operators he’s seeing and hearing at the festival.

The following is a transcript of their conversation, which has been lightly edited for clarity.

Roland, it’s great to see you in person on-site at the Singapore Fintech Festival. Thanks so much for joining us. You head up Market Platforms at Nasdaq. What are the trends that you're seeing? What's top of mind for market infrastructure operators globally?

Roland Chai: It's great to be here in Singapore. It's a fantastic, vibrant festival and so wonderful to see so many marketplaces and fintechs from around the world represented here, especially post-COVID.

For marketplace operators, there’s a couple of reoccurring trends we’re seeing having an impact globally.

One is how do market operators deal with ESG, especially the growth in ESG and what's coming down the pipeline in terms of government initiatives and regulations and how that affects markets. This is particularly relevant for the global carbon market and carbon initiatives coming out of COP26 and COP27, which will have knock-on effects that will support developing the capital markets as well. That's number one.

And two, the development of digital assets and the broader market infrastructure ecosystem. Here at the festival, it’s been heavily focused on looking at the next wave of financial markets infrastructure, as well as fintech and payments. One of the big challenges, and one we are excited to be up for: how do you evolve and leverage the various pre-trade and post-trade systems utilized currently in traditional finance—which are instrumental as critical infrastructure for economies— and now incorporate DLT or move these systems to a web3 environment?

At Nasdaq, we work across these rapidly evolving spectrums both in tradfi and digital assets, so we’re excited to bring our knowledge and expertise to the table, while also educating ourselves along the way. 

How do you think these trends are going to impact the infrastructure operators?

Roland Chai: Infrastructure operators really need to understand how they can use their existing stack of technology and also be able to integrate and meet the challenges of not only what their customers want, but also what the institutions want and how the markets are evolving.

It's not a matter of throwing away what they already possess but being able to open up and integrate new technologies like open APIs and also modularized services so that they can take advantage and also provide what they do really well. That means security, the risk controls required in managing major market infrastructure and being open to bringing that value proposition to new asset classes as well.

What about business transformation as a defining area for the decade ahead?

Roland Chai: It’s absolutely groundbreaking when you look at Singapore and Southeast Asia more broadly with how mobile payments and also fintech has really taken the region forward. In my view, that really transformed the B2C relationship.

For B2B, in terms of the institutions, how they move forward on payments and also going to a world of 24x7 DLT and opening up and providing more services will be extremely interesting to see evolve.

Transformation is about how you can iterate and ideate quicker with both your clients and your clients' clients and understand the trends that are coming.


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