2023 – a truly historical year for both Euroclear Finland and the whole Finnish market, in the midst of continued geopolitical turbulence and economic instability

In reflection of the past year, we at Euroclear Finland now look back on a year that has in many respects been historical and unprecedented. The year has been plagued by continued geopolitical turbulence and overall instability of the economic landscape, on a global scale. 

The economic instability continues, with the ECB and other central banks having raised interest rates in an effort to contain the soaring inflation. The EU economy is expected to grow at a very modest pace of 0.6% in 2023, 1.3% in 2024 and 1.7% in 2025, with expectations for declining inflation, consumption recovery and increase in investments. The World Economic Forum has ranked the current “Cost of Living” crisis as one of the most severe risks on a global scale, with the continued pressures from inflation, which are affecting those most vulnerable and the poorest in society. 

The global challenges continue also in the realm of ESG, as according to scientists, year 2023 is on track to becoming the hottest year on record due to a combination of climate change and El Niño weather patterns. The goal of keeping the global temperature rise in this century to 1.5 degrees Celsius set by world leaders in the Paris summit in 2015 is already approaching faster than expected. We at Euroclear take ESG and sustainability issues very seriously and have set our ambition level high. Not only are we following our industry's current laws and regulations and preparing for the ones ahead of us, but we are also doing what it takes to develop ourselves and our business to operate in an even more sustainable way. To do this, we have invested in having the right resources, and in 2024 we will further embed ESG in everything we do. This includes implementing our new ESG Policy, focusing on key areas where we can impact the most; the Marketplace, Workplace, Community and the Environment. Furthermore, to show our commitment, at the end of year 2024 we are moving to a new best-in-class office building that is certified as one of the most sustainable offices in Finland.

However, amidst the many challenges, there are also many positives to look back on. In 2023, the Finnish market underwent its biggest change in recent years when we joined the European securities settlement platform TARGET2-Securities (T2S). For Euroclear Finland, there have been many highlights throughout the year, but the most important is definitely the immensely successful migration to T2S in September 2023. This marked the end of a long journey that started more than 10 years ago and now allows Finland to have a modern, fit-for-purpose CSD with access to the European Target Services.

The migration was a huge success, and the situation in production has been excellent ever since. This achievement has also been recognized by the European Central Bank ECB and other CSDs. In terms of volume, the migration was the largest ever for the ECB. Looking back, we at Euroclear Finland once more want to take this opportunity to extend our warmest thanks to the whole Finnish market, all our clients and stakeholders for the excellent collaboration throughout the year and for the efforts spent on testing and migration preparation activities, which contributed to the success of the migration. In 2024, we look forward to closing some remaining gaps on score standards, connecting to ECMS, and delivering the required changes to keep our production robust at all times. In a year of many changes, I’m pleased to also note that our production system uptime has been incredibly stable, at nearly 100%. We look forward to the continued valuable collaboration with all of you again next year.

After an incredibly successful year, we are now gearing up to implement the ambitious vision for Euroclear Finland, to provide a catalogue of data-enabled services available to all market players and complemented by 3rd parties.

Following the successful migration to T2S, Euroclear Finland is now in an excellent position to look forward to new challenges and building an even stronger and more versatile position in the financial markets. We are now focusing on taking a strong client approach to reinforce our organizational focus towards our client network, with launching and scaling strategic initiatives to serve issuers, the investor community and financial institutions. In addition, Euroclear Finland will continue to further develop data, ESG, and digital solutions to deliver sustained growth for clients and other stakeholders.

After an incredibly successful year, we are now gearing up to implement the ambitious vision for Euroclear Finland, to provide a catalogue of data-enabled services available to all market players and complemented by 3rd parties. This vision will include increased efforts on improving access to data and making new data sources available, while introducing data analysis to provide insights on data in easily accessible formats. We are also focusing on launching data enabled services to provide solutions to scalable use cases in the financial services community and aim to deliver product and service portfolios with synergies.

However, simultaneously with these efforts on our strategic initiatives roadmap for the next years, we will also continue the tireless work on our IT strategy, by shifting from the T2S migration preparations and mandatory core system development to a stronger and even more dynamic product strategy. We look forward to developing our systems in optimal environments, re-balancing between the Euroclear Finland core system (Infinity) development and also ensuring strategic growth, while at the same time aiming to fully utilize the benefits of cloud services and computing for business resilience and flexibility.

The service for managing insider information according to the market abuse regulation (MAR) has been our focus in 2023. This new service will replace the existing SIRE service in 2024. Insider services are targeted to both issuers as well as to financial institutions with a phased approach. We will also focus on building more targeted services for investor relations in issuer companies. The intention is to streamline the workflows, bring solutions that add insight on top of the data and also broaden our services to the market.

A new Holdings and Transactions data API was piloted during the year and the pilot will continue in the first half of 2024. With this service, book-entry account holdings and transaction data can be shared with a 3rd party financial institution if the account owner gives Euroclear that consent. Euroclear Finland has been investigating different types of use cases together with clients and there have been a number of valuable insights for further development based on the work done so far. 

The Euroclear Finland annual client relationship survey has again been conducted and based on the valuable feedback, I´m very happy to say that we are on the right track. Overall the response rates increased from the previous year, Finland being one of the most active market globally. A heartfelt thank you for your efforts, collaboration and ideas for improvement. We look forward to continuing an active dialogue with all our clients and will do our utmost to keep up the good work, whilst also striving for continuous improvements wherever possible.

Your trust, feedback and collaboration have been invaluable, an integral part of our continued resilience and highly appreciated as Euroclear Finland now charts the course for the future. While we continue to navigate the uncertainties of the financial markets, our commitment to delivering exceptional service and value to our clients remains unwavering. 

Now as the holiday season and a time for goodwill and generosity is upon us, we at Euroclear Finland recognize that not everyone is equally fortunate and want to do our part in spreading some joy and supporting those in need.

Instead of Christmas cards and gifts, Euroclear Finland has therefore made two donations; to Hyvä Joulumieli - The Good Holiday Spirit collection, who offer food vouchers to low-income families and Pelastakaa lapset - Help Children in Finland, who work to tackle poverty among low-income families with children and support for example opportunities to pursue hobbies and studies. 

Now, after a year full of efforts and hard work, it is time to relax and truly enjoy the holiday season.

On behalf of the whole Euroclear Finland management and staff, I wish you all a joyful holiday season and all the best for the New Year 2024! 

Hanna Vainio
Euroclear Finland