The Nasdaq SVP Talks Cyber Security, Geopolitics, and Developments to Watch in the New Year

In the spirit of the season, we asked SACCNY board member and Senior Vice President & Group Treasurer for Nasdaq, Peter Strandell, to share his perspective on the past year and what he sees on the horizon in 2018.

How would you summarize 2017, what were the general trends?

What a strange year it has been. Despite a political rollercoaster—both domestically and internationally—the markets have shown an unprecedented resiliency. General risk appetite is stable, volatility is historically low, and for the time being, markets have put their trust into future corporate tax cuts in the United States, and Brexit negotiations not being too complex.

What changes can we expect in 2018?

For the last 90 years, the average bull market has lasted around nine years. As we are now passing that time frame, we should expect an increased likelihood of a correction. As such, I think we will see an increased volatility in the market. But on the other hand, market participants are highly divided on where we are heading. If we could avoid a complete U.S. tax code breakdown scenario, I think the markets could potentially move even further during 2018.

 

”Normally I would say that the U.S. financial markets are leading the way for the rest of the world, but here the Nordic region, and more specifically Sweden, is a shining star.”

 

Any global developments on the horizon that worry you?

There are many… A tougher than expected Brexit outcome for the U.K.; increased geopolitical risks as a result of instability surrounding North Korea; failed tax code negotiations in the United States; increased tension between European countries on how to handle the refugee crisis.

Those are the normal ”suspects”, but I want to raise cybersecurity as an outlier. I think this is an area where most people are unaware of how vulnerable our lifestyle has become, and how dependent we are on technology. Any disruption here could cause a serious threat to the global economy and send markets into an unpredictable spin.

What aspects of the global economy look encouraging at the moment?

I believe a lower tax rate for U.S. corporations could boost the economy by putting capital that is now somewhat trapped to work. I also believe that technological innovations are happening so fast that it is difficult to fully understand all of the positive effects they would have on productivity. Most of us are using AI today through apps on our smart phones without even knowing it. I believe that within the very near future, it is going to change most of our day-to-day life. Banking, travel, cars, healthcare, distribution processes, and so on. This will benefit both consumers and corporate earnings.

Are there any up-and-coming Swedish companies listed on the Nasdaq that we should be keeping an eye on?

Without naming anyone specific, I want to highlight how strong the Nordic region has been when it comes to bringing new companies to the markets this year. It is outstanding to see how many entrepreneurs have been raising capital to grow their businesses. Normally I would say that the U.S. financial markets are leading the way for the rest of the world, but here the Nordic region, and more specifically Sweden, is a shining star.

 

Peter Strandell
SVP & Group Treasurer
Nasdaq

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