Membership Criteria

Membership Criteria

WFE membership is based on five requirements:
  • be significant within its counry of origin
  • be regulated by a supervisory body, within a statutory framework. The independent capital markets authority must be an ordinary member of IOSCO.
  • capital raising and risk management
  • public good
  • standards and fees

Member exchanges play an active role in the development of the local economy, unlike some offshore centers and over-the-counter markets. The absolute size of the exchange is not a basis for membership, but its relative importance to the local economy is.

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These criteria are used for initial review of candidates, and they serve as the basis for member self-assessments


A member exchange of WFE should:

  1. Be significant within its country of origin


Significant means that, in addition to being important based on its size, a market should also be dedicated to supporting, directly or indirectly, the formation of investment capital or the management of investment and economic risks, and be an important factor within the home country's economy.


It is important to keep some variety in the metrics of measuring “significance.”  Exchanges offering mainly cash equity services should conduct market operations such that they have important business with respect to at least one of the following metrics in line with the measurements of current members: market capitalization, trading turnover, market share (of at least 10% in contested markets), or the market capitalization/GDP ratio.


A fixed-income exchange is evaluated based on the fair and transparent operations it conducts with these instruments; its significance to the local bond market must be shown.  The futures and options exchanges in membership must demonstrate that their contracts lead in these segments.  Importance to the local market is what needs to be shown, and the point is to demonstrate leadership in the public, regulated marketplace.


  1. Be regulated by a supervisory body, within a statutory framework


Apart from being regulated and supervised by an independent, public authority, exchanges should also have their own specific responsibilities to regulate the markets and market participants. The WFE member must be licensed as an exchange.


In each jurisdiction, there should be a public capital markets authority to oversee the markets, including the exchange.  Those capital markets authorities should be members of IOSCO, and this is true for both current members and candidate exchanges.  For cash and derivative market exchanges, the self-regulatory aspects are distinguishing features of WFE exchanges.


  1. Capital raising and risk management


Listing is a distinctive element for cash market exchanges’ capital raising function.  All WFE cash market exchanges should operate an active platform for raising initial and secondary capital.  All WFE derivative exchanges should provide options or futures contracts for managing risk.


  1. Public good


Exchanges should pursue purposes that are in the public interest, having as a goal to be fair, orderly and neutral to protect all public participants.


In fulfilment of its public good responsibilities, an exchange must remain neutral and fair to all actors.  Questions can arise because of the changing ownership structure of exchanges, and also new entrants into the trading space, but neutrality and fairness remain key criteria for WFE members.


  1. Standards and fees


Current members should subscribe to and comply with the World Federation of Exchanges Qualifying Characteristics and pay WFE membership dues.


The self-assessment attests to members’ on-going compliance with WFE’s basis qualifying characteristics.  Dues payments are an on-going obligation of membership.