Twenty years ago the world’s elite exchanges were clubby and obscure. Now their tentacles spread far and wide
At the top of the food chain, with revenues at or exceeding $3bn, sit the giants: CME, Deutsche Börse, ICE and LSE. These have assured demand for big volumes, and will continue to reap the rewards of diversification. Two candidates are on the verge of promotion into the top league. Nasdaq, once famous only for its tech listings, now makes software that powers more than 130 other exchanges. HKEX enjoys the strongest tailwinds. It stands to win from China’s capital-market liberalisation, its growing tech nous and mainland firms’ desire to be closer to their home market. Geopolitics could also help, as Ant’s decision not to list in America may already show.
In time, Mr Li reckons, “almost all” Chinese companies listed in America will come back to Asia. Stock Connect, which makes up 7-8% of daily trading on HKEX, could end up accounting for a quarter of it. Being at the confluence of China’s rivers of capital and the sea of global funds should be a lucrative business. ■