"Guaranteeing system availability is our top priority"
Interview with Urs Rüegsegger, Group CEO
How important is the subject of sustainability at SIX?
Due to our role as the infrastructure provider to the Swiss financial center, SIX places a huge amount of importance on sustainability. Guaranteeing system availability is our top priority. Another form of sustainability can be seen in the way we consistently involve our owners and clients when it comes to making far-reaching decisions, for example, when we defined the new architecture of the SIC interbank payment system or our positioning in the European settlement landscape as part of the European
Central Bank’s TARGET2-Securities initiative. At the same time, we are committed to a conservative risk profile, which facilitates sustainable business development.
SIX wants to expand internationally. Does this not go against the basic mandate of SIX?
Part of this basic mandate includes maintaining, and where possible increasing the appeal of the Swiss financial center. Most of our clients
also have to be internationally competitive, and part of that includes a competitive infrastructure at attractive rates. If we can bring larger business volumes to the Swiss platforms, we will generate economies of scale and make it possible to link up to international markets. The market participants in Switzerland will also benefit from this.
How does SIX maintain its competitiveness as an independent company?
Firstly, with the previously mentioned economies of scale. Then of course we try to maintain a competitive edge by providing solutions in good time and in line with our clients’ requirements. Finally, we have to increase our productivity, which means investing in projects that contribute directly to earnings and implementing them faster.
How do non-financial aspects of sustainability influence the way in which the company is run?
We are aware that on its own, profit leads to a one-sided perception of the true purpose of a company’s use. But there are other aspects, such as the automation of processes,error rates or quality-related aspects, which add value for the users of our systems. This is why we are setting up a performance reporting process, which will highlight the achievements of the company over and above the financial aspects. And if nothing else, our focus on efficiency also means that we have to use resources carefully.
What challenges can SIX expect in the future?
As an infrastructure provider, our fixed costs will always be high. One
big challenge will be maintaining our competitive strength, particularly
where costs are concerned. It is also important that we are able to respond quickly and appropriately to any foreseeable regulatory requirements. And lastly, we will also be faced with a challenge in cases where a common consensus must be reached as to how the infrastructure should be developed and which role the Swiss financial center will play in the future.