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Strate Nexus – Staying connected to the financial market ecosystem

Our recent virtual market advisory event, Strate Nexus, was an opportunity to update our clients and stakeholders on how Strate serves the financial market in South Africa.

“We serve the financial market through creating sustainable financial market infrastructures and platforms that meet world-class principles of governance,” André Nortjé, Chief Executive Officer, told participants. Strate’s three core offerings: CSD Services, Collateral Services and Integration and Data Services have the overall aim of promoting interoperability, enabling efficiencies, mitigating risk and optimising the use of capital for the South African security services industry, he added.

The markets faced a double test this year with the COVID-19 lockdown and extreme market volatility, said Nortjé. Yet the entire market ecosystem was resilient with no failed trades as stakeholders worked together and supported each other, he said.

Nortjé expects that next year could be a “really tough year” as South Africa faces stunted economic growth, policy uncertainty and structural issues – all exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“But the capital markets are resilient and innovative. I am convinced we will get through this and be better for it on other side,” he said.

Guest speaker, Pete Redshaw, Practice Vice President, Global Financial Services – Research and Advisory at Gartner, shared various scenarios to plan for the effect COVID-19 could have on the cyber environment for financial services companies.

Prior to the pandemic, the financial sector was already facing disruption, including moving from people-led to machine-led processes and systems. A recent Gartner survey of chief information officers worldwide found that COVID-19 has accelerated many of the changes already in progress. Notably, it has increased organisational reliance on technology, shifted the allocation of more funding to digital acceleration and grown headcount in the technology area.

Redshaw warned: “This will not be the last crisis we go through. We have a conveyor belt of crises coming along.”

Expect subsequent waves of COVID-19, economic recession, unemployment, trade wars, political upheaval and climate change to significantly affect customer demand and consumer behaviour, he said.

But Redshaw’s final words offered hope. “Where there is a crisis, there is also an opportunity,” he said. “Financial services companies could find that the latest crisis is their chance to accelerate ahead of their competition.”

Head of CSD Services, Gregory Naicker, discussed how Strate supports its clients through digital enablement.

Also, Farzana Khan, Head of Collateral Services, spoke about collateral management services in a post COVID-19 world.

And Rudi Steenkamp, Head of Technology & Data Management, gave an update on application programming interface (API) enablement through Strate Integration Services.

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