responsibility - Questions for James Freis


Why is compliance so essential for the survival of Deutsche Börse Group – and what are the customers’ benefits?

Compliance is fundamentally about protecting the integrity of the markets and thereby the interests of all market participants. In this context, compliance with regulatory requirements and ethical practices is at the core of our values as a leading operator of markets. The notion and modern expectations for a compliance function have their background in the financial industry and specifically in the securities markets, in particular related to protecting retail customers and to promoting transparency among market participants. These concepts have now been expanded and deepened to apply not just more broadly across financial industry participants, but also to serve as best practices for all corporate entities.

James Freis

Chief Compliance Officer of Deutsche Börse Group

James Freis holds both a Juris Doctor and economics degree and gathered broad international regulatory experience before joining Deutsche Börse Group in April 2014 as Chief Compliance Officer.

What are specific compliance challenges related to Deutsche Börse Group’s business activities internationally?

Deutsche Börse Group is unique in terms of its covering the whole value chain. And a fundamental aspect of a compliance programme is that it should be risk-based and tailored to the products and services and jurisdictions unique to the specific entity we are. In short: we cannot copy, we have to make our own compliance programme in virtually every aspect. It is a cross-border business we are involved in, with different legal regimes, regulatory requirements and risks. We must define our own best practices, rather than just seek to fulfil the minimum requirements in individual areas. This is not only a challenge, but also an opportunity for us as a market leader.

What are the returns of an investment in compliance?

As part of this global movement and considering the ever-evolving global expectations in terms of compliance, Deutsche Börse Group seeks to be viewed as a market leader and one whose integrity is beyond reproach. Market participants will be drawn to this, and significant market players cannot afford to be seen as competing on a basis of lower compliance standards. To put it the other way around: a positive reputation will be a strong market differentiator, just like higher product quality. One of the lessons of the financial crisis is that financial infrastructure needs to be more reliable and resilient than the individual market participants – and this is also true in terms of compliance expectations.