MANYU MORAVENOV, CEO OF THE BULGARIAN STOCK EXCHANGE:"We are open to any kind of discussion about future cooperations in our region"

M.G. (Translated by Cosmin Ghidoveanu)
English Section #Bursele din regiune / 28 mai 2021

"We are open to any kind of discussion about future cooperations in our region"

The Bulgarian Stock Exchange is open for any discussion about future cooperation in our region, said Manyu Moravenon, its CEO. Among other things, he said that the initiative to create an information hub for the countries of the 3 Seas Initiative is very good and proposed regular meetings between the CEOs of the stock exchanges in the region, not informal meetings, but working meetings.

Moravenov said: "The Bulgarian Stock Exchange is open to any discussion about future cooperation in our region. My personal belief, and I will repeat what I said recently in a similar forum, is that a sustainable future for our stock exchanges is the transformation into a connected regional market and the practical solution (of cooperation) would be integration. Of course, that will be done step by step. We could wait another 20 years or we could do it faster, it is just up to us. The alternatives are for our local stock exchanges to become incubators for companies listed on global exchanges or for some of us to disappear, especially given that we are part of the EU. So let's start talking and working together".

According to the head of the Bulgarian Stock Exchange, it is very important to avoid the mistakes of the past in terms of regional cooperation initiatives: "I agree with the other speakers on the issues of our region. But I would like to add something: one of the biggest problems is that we have significant differences between us, when comparing the exchanges in South-Eastern Europe with those in Central Europe, and we have some exchanges like Vienna, Warsaw, Athens, which are much bigger than the others. Why do I say that: because, for better or worse, we have the experience of stock market development in the last 20 years and I remember the initiatives started in the last decades: for example the initiative of the Federation of Euro-Asian Stock Exchanges (FEAS - ed. note).

Some of you may remember that the leading stock exchange in this alliance, Federation, was the Istanbul Stock Exchange, and a very good platform was developed 15 years ago for the exchange of information and market-data, common indices and so on. Now, after 18 years, we do not have many new things to say about such activities of cooperation within the FEAS. Yes, the initiative to create an information hub for the 3 Seas Initiative countries is very good and I am sure it will greatly help the development of our markets in the region. But in general, it is good to see and talk about what the problems were in the past and not to make the same mistakes as in the past".

In his opinion, stock exchanges in the region must find their place in the ocean of the world's capital markets and especially in the European space, in order to stop losing national champions.

"One such example: we are losing business because technological development is very fast, we have globalization of markets, there are single passports in Europe, and it is very easy for small companies or fintechs to start their own business. What we are seeing is that a lot of financing was raised through private equity and venture capital investments instead of IPOs and stock market listings. Smaller stock exchanges like ours adapt much better to these business situations and we need to start working together with the private equity ecosystem. I am sure that some of the other stock exchanges also have such problems: new growth companies that have the potential to be listed on stock exchanges are acquired by the venture capital area and private investors before coming to the markets and some even go directly abroad, let's say in the USA, for growth, instead of using the ecosystem and the business environment in our country and in our region", said Manyu Moravenov.

He added: "I think we need to talk more often about all these issues and try to find ways to help each other keep these companies in our region, work with them and use our infrastructure in better ways. "We all know about the various attempts to unify the stock exchanges in our region. Unfortunately, we now have many small exchanges, some cooperation initiatives such as the Vienna Stock Exchange offering services to other exchanges. The Bulgarian Stock Exchange works closely with Deutsche Borse, but in my opinion it's good to start talking about opportunities to do business together, between our stock exchanges. I'm not talking about mergers and acquisitions, I'm just talking about joint developments. I'm sure we could create something new, something we don't have on our markets, new products or new markets Let's start thinking about dual listings, let's improve common rules, let's see how we can solve some post-trading problems, clearing and settlement for example".

The CEO of the Bulgarian stock exchange proposed regular meetings between the general managers of the stock exchanges in the region and not just informal meetings, but actual working ones.

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