Keeping derivatives markets "open and safe for the real economy"

Opening remarks of Walt Lukken, President and CEO of FIA, at FIA Forum in Brussels

23 May 2023

Opening remarks of Walt Lukken, President and CEO of FIA, at the FIA Forum in Brussels, on 23 May2023. As prepared for delivery.


Good afternoon! Bonjour! It's great to be back here in Brussels.

Two weeks ago, in Washington DC, I was honored to attend an event at the Swedish Embassy—held by the EU ambassador to the US—to celebrate Europe Day—May 9th

All 27 ambassadors of the EU member states were in attendance.

I learned that May 9th celebrates the Schuman Declaration—otherwise known as the Day of the United Europe—that marked the start of cooperation between a core group of European countries that ultimately would become the European Union.

On this 73rd anniversary of Europe, the Ukrainian ambassador to the United States was also in attendance and received a thunderous standing ovation from the crowd of European diplomats and Washington insiders. I was struck by the unity of that evening and the appreciation of the shared values of all of us in attendance, highlighted by our support of Ukraine.

That evening, various dignitaries spoke about the importance of freedom, the rule of law and human rights. These ideas of unity and cooperation will be sorely needed as we confront issues like wars, pandemics, climate change and political unrest.

I came away from the evening optimistic and energized to come here to Brussels. And while we may not be talking about saving the planet or world peace today, we have our own shared values of building a strong and resilient capital market in the EU, knowing that markets are a part of the solution in meeting some of our societal challenges.

FIA supports this important agenda in the EU. And we are proud to have a growing presence in Brussels, having opened our offices over five years ago.

Boy, time flies. The amazing Corinna Schempp—FIA's head of EU policy—has been leading our Brussels strategy and as I always say... if you don't know Corinna, just wait! We are also pleased to welcome Jean Pierre Salendres to our team who joined FIA from the ECB, and is already making an impact for us.

In the esoteric world of derivatives regulation, I find it useful to remind ourselves why our markets exist. After all, even the term "derivatives" indicates our industry is derived from something else.

Well, that "something else" are the raw materials of the real economy.

Our markets allow everyday businesses to hedge risk and free up capital for investments in jobs and equipment. Our markets also discover prices for these businesses, offering transparency into what's happening in the broader economy as well as specific industries.

Even companies that do not use our markets benefit from prices discovered on our markets—whether that's through mortgage interest rates, the price of food and gasoline or even the price of a carbon offset.

That's why we are here this week. We all feel passionate about our markets, their mission, and the need for them to remain safe, innovative and resilient.

Today we will have a healthy dialogue around the EU regulatory agenda and how we keep these markets open and effective for the real economy.

But our work on regulations is just part of what FIA does in support of our markets and our members.

Our organization also is focused on building best-in-class standards for our industry's operations to handle the growing volume of trades flowing through our plumbing. Last year, FIA formed the Derivatives Markets Institute for Standards or DMIST for short, and we aim to publish our first standard on the timing of trade give-ups in the coming weeks.  

FIA also recently formed a Cyber Risk Taskforce in the wake of the recent cyber-attack on a major vendor in the industry. This Taskforce plans to take the lessons learned from this incident and make recommendations on improving the safety and resilience of our markets. We look forward to sharing these findings soon.

All these efforts have one thing in common: our singular focus to keep our markets open and safe for the real economy. If we do our job, our markets will help companies to manage risk, invest in growth, and hire people to improve their lives.

Talk about a shared value that we can all support!

It's wonderful to be back here in Brussels and celebrate seven decades of European progress. We have a packed schedule today and a lot of important issues to cover. But before I go, I want to thank all of you for attending, and for partnering with FIA in our mission of advancing markets.

First up on today's agenda is a keynote address from MEP Danuta Hübner of the European Parliament's ECON Committee. Danuta boasts impressive credentials, with a PhD from the Warsaw School of Economics and time as a Fulbright scholar at UC Berkeley. She also served on the United Nations Economic Commission before joining the European Commission in 2004 and then the European Parliament in 2009.

We're so grateful she is here today to share her thoughts on EU priorities. Professor Huebner, welcome and thank you again for being here.

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