Judith Hardt, Europe Exchange Champion, to Leave FESE

Judith Hardt, who won a “Lobbyist of the Year” award for representing exchanges in high-profile regulatory campaigns for almost a decade, will leave as director general of the Federation of European Securities Exchanges.

Hardt will step down May 23, Brussels-based FESE said in an e-mailed statement. A lawyer by training, she joined the group in 2005 and led the industry through the development of a code of conduct for clearing and settlement, review of the regulation on investment services and projects on small and medium-sized enterprise lending.

“After nearly 10 years at FESE and with the successful outcomes of Mifid II for exchanges, I believe that now is a good time to explore new opportunities,” Hardt said in the release. “I have also been privileged to work with incredible staff.”

The departure of Hardt, whom the Compliance Reporter magazine named as lobbyist of the year in 2008, comes as exchanges and banks gear up to negotiate with the European Securities and Markets Authority over technical standards and detailed rules for the region’s financial-securities regulation called Markets in Financial Instruments Directive.

Regulators are rethinking the structure and oversight of European markets, including limits on the amount of trading that occurs on private venues known as dark pools and scrutinizing computerized trading firms. Consensus among banks and exchanges is yet to emerge.

Hardt, noted for her energy, networking ability and blazing smile, negotiated complex financial-securities regulations. She serves on advisory committees including the ESMA’s stakeholder group and the European Central Bank’s Target 2 Securities.

“I would like to thank Judith Hardt for all her hard work and tireless dedication to the federation and our industry over the past nine years,” Christian Katz, President of FESE said in the statement. “FESE is now more organized and focused due to Judith’s leadership.”

Amid a public debate about whether modern equity markets are fair, reliable and transparent, the industry’s key players must collaborate more on resolving their differences, Katz said Nov. 25 as he stepped into the role.

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