Despite possible Brexit induced disruptions, Fitch Ratings’ 2019 global outlook for financial market infrastructure companies (FMIs) is stable, the New York-based credit rating agency said Monday.
This reflects strong franchises, increasingly diversified business models and a supportive regulatory backdrop, which are is expected to help offset “modest” revenue challenges and rising regulatory costs at securities exchanges and clearinghouses.
For exchanges, Fitch sees the potential for heightened merger and acquisition activity driven by cross-border deals and expansion in data and other services. Large-scale domestic consolidation is “less likely”, it says in a news release.
The outlook for exchanges includes expectations that rising interest rates and intensifying market volatility will likely boost trading activity in both securities and derivatives, which will bolster trading and clearing revenues. However, increasing scrutiny of competition and exchanges’ pricing power, “may pressure revenue growth from data services and connectivity,” Fitch says.
For international central securities depositories, Fitch sees collateral management revenue rising as monetary policy tightens (i.e. as central banks curb quantitative easing). The rating agency notes there is the potential for long-term disruption in the sector from new technologies.
For clearing houses, Brexit-related uncertainty remains a key challenge. “Although it does not directly impact the sector outlook, a no-deal Brexit scenario could cause disruptions for UK-based clearinghouses,” says Evgeny Konovalov, director in Fitch’s non-bank financial institutions group, in a statement.
“While the EU’s pledge to grant temporary and conditional equivalence to U.K. clearinghouses removes immediate risks to financial stability and potential non-performance, the lack of third-country equivalency status would impair the franchises of U.K.-based CCPs in the medium term,” Konovalov adds.