2019 was Year One after the strategic realignment and a wider-ranging reorganization of SIX. We began with a new focused approach, and the words Deliver! Deliver! Deliver! echoed through the corridors.
And yes, we delivered: starting with seven new listings on our stock exchange, through the expansion of our data business, and the fact that now more than 4,000 ATMs run on our ATMfutura software. That's positive. But we need to do more to deliver – we have to grow and increase profitability. 2019 will be remembered by me as a year in which we laid the foundation for this and for something much bigger - the Transformation of the Financial Markets.
Our heritage as SIX is something we can be very proud of. But in my eyes it has been a longstanding excuse in the sense of “never change a running system.” Our infrastructure services are the heartbeat of the Swiss financial center. They are stable and reliable – and they will continue to be in the future. The question is: How will we deliver these services in the future, and what else is needed to be stable, reliable, trusted and more importantly relevant for our customers? Therefore, we have launched a few initiatives this year with the aim of not only finding innovative solutions and enhancing our existing services, but also transforming the financial markets. In particular, we launched a DLT-based trading and settlement prototype of the SIX Digital Exchange. We are furthermore working on data analytics and robotics cases, and we obtained broad support to pursue a Swiss Payments Vision. Additionally, SIX is bringing open banking to Switzerland on a broad scale. And we are exploring with the Swiss National Bank technological options to make digital central bank money available for the trading and settlement of tokenized assets.
Transformation is nothing you can do by yourself. You need strong partners and collaborations, and a trustworthy network to rethink business models and make things happen. Just recently, for example, we have announced our intent to invest in daura AG, to strengthen consistent technical standards in the Swiss ecosystem for digital assets. We also entered into a collaboration with Deloitte to improve the efficiency of compliance processes in banking. And with our SIX FinTech Ventures, we invested in global early stage start-ups. We deepened our collaboration with the Stock Exchanges in Shanghai and Shenzen by a Memorandum of Understanding. And we announced our intention to make an all-cash voluntary tender offer for Bolsas y Mercados Españoles (“BME”), operator of the Spanish stock exchanges, to create the 3rd largest European financial market infrastructure group. We want and need to be strongly participating in the drive for a more connected and consolidated industry.
But we need to do our homework internally as well: We are still struggling from unproductive processes, silo-thinking, outdated structures, and an unbalanced cost-income ratio. I wish we were already much further along in the process. But we all know that cultural transformation takes time and determination. I am personally deeply committed to make this happen, because I want everyone at SIX, who is clearly committed to our overall vision, to be with me on this journey.
I am more than confident that with the initiatives we kick-started in 2019, we will bring SIX to the next level, resulting in transforming the financial markets.
One and a more personal transformation is already well underway. My whole family now lives in Switzerland, and we feel privileged to enjoy the high quality of life here. We have gained a much better understanding of the Swiss culture and mentality. On other words: We feel at home.