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Katrin Otto: “Together we can build a bridge between the Chinese and the European capital markets“

Release date: 18 Dec 2018 | Eurex Exchange

Katrin Otto: “Together we can build a bridge between the Chinese and the European capital markets“

How Katrin Otto, member of the Executive Board of CEINEX, became involved in China, strategy and, ultimately CEINEX

Katrin Otto, member of the executive board of CEINEX AG since September 2018, worked for Eurex for a number of years. The China Europe International Exchange (CEINEX) is a Joint-Venture (JV) by the Shanghai Stock Exchange, the China Financial Futures Exchange and Deutsche Börse Group. As a bridge between markets, CEINEX offers international investors financial products on its platform in Chinese renminbi as well as products based on Chinese assets in euro and US dollar. In our interview, she talks about her new position, CEINEX‘s successes and the challenges it faces, and how she became involved in China-related topics in the first place.

Image of Katrin Otto, member of the executive board, CEINEX AGZoom

Katrin Otto, member of the executive board, CEINEX AG

Katrin, glad you found time for us. What are your new responsibilities at CEINEX?

Thanks for the invitation. Iꞌm honored. To answer your question, I will have to look back a bit: before I started at CEINEX, I coordinated China-related activities at Eurex and Deutsche Börse Group as a whole for over two years in the role of a central project manager. Among others, these included CEINEX and the development of new products such as D-Shares and derivatives. In addition, I looked at the bigger picture, in other words the initiation and development of strategic questions for the Deutsche Börse as a shareholder in the JV. After these two yearꞌs of intensive coordination work with CEINEX, I am now able to shape the future of the JV actively as a board member.  

How does the liaison with the other JV partners function?

The supervisory and executive boards are made up of members from the three JV partners. Over and above this, each organization provides staff members and know how. So we have a lot of interaction, including back to our shareholders, whose support we also require. With the first D-Share IPO on 24 October here in Frankfurt by the Chinese company Haier we proved that together we can build a bridge between the Chinese and the European capital markets. Our common goal is to continue to develop this market.


D-Shares refer to shares from companies based in China, which are listed in Germany on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in the CEINEX D share market. The D stands for Deutschland or Déguó – the Chinese word for Germany.


How did your previous work at Deutsche Börse prepare you for your new position?

My previous position had a very strong link to the relevant CEINEX topics. In addition, I had fantastic managers, who gave me a lot of their time and were a great example through their work attitude and their pragmatic approach. I was given the chance to develop and was given responsibility at an early stage. This allowed me to make my own experiences, which is very helpful. 

When did you start working for Deutsche Börse Group and how long have you been involved in the subject matter China?

I started at Eurex in 2016. In my previous job as a consultant I was also on the “China ticket”, so in fact, I have almost ten years professional experience with China matters and know how.

What are CEINEXꞌs greatest successes?

The setting up of the JV CEINEX is a great success in itself. No other exchange in the world has managed to found a similar JV with Chinese partners. This close relationship is the foundation for good collaboration across diverse topics and the product areas covered by Deutsche Börse Group and which, for example, are being successfully consolidated within CEINEX. 

And what are the greatest challenges?

Katrin Otto, member of the executive board, CEINEX AGZoom

Katrin Otto, member of the executive board, CEINEX AG

The China strategy is a challenge in itself: very different organizations and entities with varying interests have to be brought together and managed. Shanghai Stock Exchange and China Financial Futures Exchange are state‐run companies with a very long‐term horizon or goals where as a listed company like Deutsche Börse also has short and medium‐term goals. Bringing these different horizons, but also the political backgrounds, the different cultures and approaches together can also sometimes be a challenge; Germans and Chinese certainly have different ways of working. But that is the reason I enjoy it. It opens up new horizons and outlooks and I find that very stimulating. It is the reason why I enjoy my job, even if, or maybe just because it is such a challenge.

You have been working in an Asiatic/Chinese environment for a long while. Did you do something in this line at university?

Yes indeed. I studied East Asia Management with China as my main field. I also learnt Mandarin as part of my studies, did part of my studies in Taiwan. I lived with a Chinese family to allow me to do a few internships during my time at university. My focus was always on strategy, finance and China.


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