RNS Number : 3431K
London Stock Exchange Group PLC
21 April 2020
21 April 2020
LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE GROUP PLC
Annual General Meeting
Tuesday 21 April 2020
Chair's statement by Don Robert
We are disappointed that, as a result of the global pandemic
COVID-19, we are unable to host our shareholders in person at
today's Annual General Meeting. The challenges that we collectively
face as a society are unprecedented and we appreciate shareholders'
understanding in light of the current circumstances.
As a systemically important financial markets infrastructure
business, London Stock Exchange Group places a high priority on its
responsibility to ensure the orderly functioning of markets and
continuity of services for its customers and other stakeholders.
LSEG has in place robust business continuity arrangements and we
continue to prioritise operational resilience across the Group's
Capital Markets, Information Services and Post Trade businesses.
Employee health and wellbeing has been a key focus. The vast
majority of our employees have been working remotely, and I commend
them for their commitment to serving our customers during these
unusual times. We are in regular contact with public health
authorities, governments and stakeholders around the world and will
continue to adjust our response as needed.
The Group delivered another strong performance in 2019, despite
another year of macroeconomic and geo-political events that have
directly influenced global financial markets. Total income rose 8%
and adjusted earnings per share increased 15%. The Board is
proposing a final dividend of 49.9 pence per share, resulting in a
full year dividend of 70.0 pence per share, up 16%.
We have continued to invest in our business as we grow in scale,
while continuing to progress financially, strategically and
operationally across our core businesses of Information Services,
Post Trade and Capital Markets. Our successful strategy is
underpinned by the continuation of our Open Access and customer
partnership approach to deliver innovative solutions across the
financial markets value chain.
In our Information Services division, FTSE Russell is a key
contributor to Group revenues, delivering 10% revenue growth over
the course of the year. This included strong growth in subscription
revenues, up 12% in 2019, reflecting new sales across a number of
indices. The Group's Post Trade businesses continued to perform
well. LCH delivered a strong performance with income up 14% to
GBP756 million. Post Trade - Italy saw income increase by 5% to
GBP152 million. Capital Markets continued to perform well despite
macroeconomic headwinds with revenue up 5% to GBP426 million.
Building on the results from 2019, I am pleased to share our Q1
2020 results, released this morning. Against a challenging market
environment, the Group delivered a good performance in the first
quarter. Total income rose 13% year-on-year to GBP615 million,
driven by increased equity trading in Capital Markets and higher
clearing activity across listed and OTC products leading to higher
NTI in Post Trade.
While the Group has performed well in Q1, it is too early to
comment specifically on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on
the outlook for LSEG and its customers for the remainder of the
year. However, the Group believes the longer-term drivers of growth
in each of its business lines remain intact.
On 1 August 2019, LSEG announced the proposed acquisition of
Refinitiv. This was the culmination of many months of strategy
development, deep consideration and discussion. It is a
transformational transaction, strategically and financially. The
combined global business will be headquartered and domiciled in the
UK with a premium listing in London. The transaction received
overwhelming shareholder approval in November, and we continue to
make progress in relation to the remaining antitrust, foreign
investment and regulatory clearances that the transaction is also
conditional upon. We remain committed to closing the transaction
during the second half of 2020.
The global transition to a more sustainable economy continues to
be a focus across our industry. LSEG has many touch points with
stakeholders that put us in a strong position to engage in this
discussion and we take our responsibility seriously. Our ability
to help facilitate change is demonstrated through the diverse
ecosystem of sustainable bonds listed on our markets with issuers
from 18 different countries and bonds issued in 17 different
currencies. FTSE Russell has also launched an innovative new index
providing a forward-looking assessment of the climate risk faced by
sovereigns, allowing investors to reduce climate risk and
greenhouse gas emissions in their portfolios.
As a global company, we are committed to playing our part,
building on our engagement with UK Government initiatives such as
the Green Finance Taskforce, which led to the creation of the
Finance Institute, and the EU's High Level Expert Group and
Technical Expert Group. Both of these groups included
representatives from LSEG as part of their work to develop
recommendations for the EU's Green Finance Taxonomy.
The Board seeks to operate to high governance and ethical
standards. The Board, along with the executive team, seeks to
promote a culture of Group-wide collaboration and customer focus.
LSEG has made good progress this year on these efforts. The Board
has also engaged directly with employees, with candid feedback
provided to Directors through a series of informal meetings, as
well as more formal interaction with employee forums, which will
continue in the coming year.
Dominic Blakemore joined the Board as a Non-Executive Director,
effective 1 January 2020. Following the conclusion of today's
Annual General Meeting, Paul Heiden will step down from the LSEG
Board and Dominic will assume the Chair of the Audit Committee from
Paul, and Stephen O'Connor will become the Senior Independent
Director. I would like to record the Board's gratitude to Paul
Heiden for his significant contribution to LSEG over the last
decade during which the Group has delivered significant growth and
diversification. His counsel and experience have been invaluable
during this period of transformational change.
In October 2019, David Warren, Group Chief Financial Officer
informed the Group of his intention to retire from the company and
step down from the Board. The Board is grateful for the key role
David has played in the successful growth, diversification and
global expansion of our business over the last seven years as well
as for his leadership when he served as Interim CEO. David will
continue in his current role as Group CFO and a member of the Board
through the close of the Refinitiv transaction to ensure a smooth
transition to his successor. LSEG is undertaking a global search
for his replacement, which is being led by the Board's Nomination
In March 2020, LSEG also announced that Dr. Ruth Wandhöfer,
Non-Executive Director, had stepped down from the Board with
immediate effect to pursue new opportunities.
It was a great honour to be asked to serve as Chair of London
Stock Exchange Group, an iconic institution with a 300-year history
at the heart of global financial markets. I would like to extend my
appreciation to Donald Brydon for handing over the reins to a Group
that is well positioned strategically and financially.
Since becoming Chair in May 2019, I have been impressed by the
calibre and focus of our employees. I'd like to thank them for
their dedication and professionalism during what has been a very
busy year. I would also like to thank my Board colleagues for their
support, challenge and for their commitment.
London Stock Exchange Group is in a position of strength,
sitting at the heart of international financial markets, as we look
ahead to the many opportunities within our industry. I look forward
to working with the Board and the executive team to continue to
develop the business for the future.
- Ends -
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April 21, 2020 05:36 ET (09:36 GMT)
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