ASX CEO Helen Lofthouse
Helen Lofthouse: I joined ASX in September 2015. Prior to my appointment as CEO earlier this year, I had the privilege of leading ASX’s Markets division – which is the Group’s largest individual business by revenue – and before that I was Executive General Manager of Derivatives and OTC Markets.
In these roles, I’ve been fortunate to work with an incredible team who are responsible for ASX’s cash and derivatives trading, including equities, interest rates, commodities and energy products, ASX’s international business development teams, benchmarks business, and derivatives and OTC clearing.
Before joining ASX, I was a Managing Director at UBS in London, responsible globally for the OTC clearing business and Head of Clearing and Execution Sales in Europe. I’ve also worked at JPMorgan in London in various areas including futures and OTC clearing, derivatives prime brokerage and credit markets.
HL: A large focus of my past roles has been generating revenue and profitability, but I’ve also worked closely with regulators and customers.
While at UBS, I led the industry engagement with regulators regarding the impact of Basel 3 on clearing. This culminated in global regulators reviewing and adjusting the Leverage Ratio rules for clearing.
More recently at ASX, I helped transform BBSW, the main benchmark interest rate used in Australia, moving it to meet new global standards for benchmarks and ensuring the rate’s continuation for global market users. As a result, ASX subsequently gained the first Australian Benchmark Licence under new benchmarks regulation.
Outside of work, I’m a mum with two teenage boys, which keeps me pretty busy. Having grown up in the UK, I love spending time outdoors and by the water, bushwalking and, when I can, skiing with my family.
HL: I’m passionate about ASX and the key role it plays in the broader financial market.
I’m very excited to be leading ASX, and very aware of the responsibility that this involves, given our critical role in providing important infrastructure that underpins the Australian and New Zealand financial ecosystem.
I’m also passionate about technology and its importance in ensuring resilience, efficiency and to enable change. ASX is on a path of technological change and renewal. I am proud of ASX and its achievements so far, but even more excited about the next steps as we continue to invest for the future, and work with our customers to deliver valued products and services that meet their needs and benefit the broader financial ecosystem.
When I look to the future, I’m excited about ASX’s journey and the opportunity we have to help facilitate the transition of the Australian economy towards renewable energy and decarbonisation.
HL: In the short-term, my priority remains to ensure we continue to deliver critical financial infrastructure and services that support the resilient, reliable and efficient operations of Australia and New Zealand’s financial markets.
Having been appointed from within the organisation, I have a good appreciation of the work we have in train, the opportunities for growth, and also the challenges ASX and the broader industry are facing.
Our investment in technology upgrades and renewal continues. Our highest profile technology project is CHESS, designed to eventually replace ASX’s near 30-year-old cash equity clearing and settlement system with fit-for-purpose world-leading technology. This will provide a platform for improved efficiency and security for our customers for decades, and opportunities for further innovation. Our focus is to ensure the project is delivered safely. While ASX’s role is a critical one, we also recognise that we are just one piece in Australia’s financial ecosystem and we need to ensure we are all confident and ready as well.
Longer term, I would like to continue investing in our people, technology and services to grow ASX in the best possible way, and to maintain reliable and efficient capital markets.
HL: I am a people person. I came to ASX from a project delivery and a sales background, and with a customer’s mindset. I intend to work to strengthen customer, regulator and cross-industry relationships. I’m determined to achieve the highest standards of operations and service in everything we do. We need to constantly make sure we understand our customers’ priorities and what they want from us, to help us deliver a quality product and service.
For the staff at ASX, I want to ensure our peoples’ passion remains connected to the purpose and priorities of ASX, and that we are providing the best possible working environment and support to allow them to thrive.
HL: I’m inspired every day by my colleagues. Whether it’s intelligence, curiosity or passion for a project, I get great satisfaction in us setting an objective, and seeing people do great work across this complex ecosystem to get a job done.
At an individual mentor level, Tim Frost, at one time my manager at JP Morgan, stands out. He is endlessly curious and full of ideas, funny, generous with his time, and also pretty quirky. I learned a lot from his entrepreneurial, creative thinking, but also that bringing your whole self to work – being uniquely your own person – can be a huge positive.
HL: Firstly, be curious and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Secondly, treating people with respect and being kind is so important. As you progress in your career and take on management positions your behaviour and the impact on people is magnified. Lastly, learn from others. The key to success is to surround yourself with smart people. Encourage, support, and give praise for their successes when solving problems. We have an abundance of talented, professional people at ASX who really care about what they do, so I am pleased to say I have a lot of opportunity now to recognise and praise their achievements.