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Settled in: Laszlo Barrena

Settled in: Laszlo BarrenaPeople & ideas at Deutsche Börse

In our “Settled in” series, our colleagues, who have decided to start their careers at Deutsche Börse Group share their journeys with us. Laszlo joined EEX Group as a working student. After graduating in International Energy Economics, he is now settled in as Business Analyst and talks about his journey, his tasks and what the future might bring.

You’ve studied International Energy Economics in Leipzig and Moscow and are now working at EEX. Where does your strong interest in energy economics come from?

My interest in energy economics probably evolved during an internship for my Economics undergraduate degree where I first got in touch with offshore wind energy and climate mitigation policies in rural areas. In the subsequent semester, I took a class on emission trading and I was struck by the fact that there is no price on carbon in modern economies – unless you purposely (and artificially) introduce one, like in the European Union. It became clear to me that this was an area I wanted to dedicate my further work and career to, so a master’s degree in Energy Economics was a perfect fit. I spent some of the graduate program in Moscow where the perception of climate change and energy as a resource cannot be compared to what I had experienced until then. This experience strengthened my understanding that climate change mitigation is probably the number one issue of our generation.

Returning to Leipzig, I had the opportunity to start as a working student in the Power Derivatives Business Development team at EEX. Since its foundation 21 years ago, the company has developed from a start-up to the largest power trading platform in Europe, and with Nodal Exchange, its American subsidiary, the volumes are heading the same way in the US. Today, EEX Group is active in several commodity markets and offers trading, clearing and registry services for commodities like power, natural gas, carbon emissions, agricultural products and freight.

Additionally, EEX provides auction services in the European emission trading scheme (EU ETS) and, recently, also cooperates with a local partner in the New Zealand ETS. Across all asset classes, we can see that energy transition and decarbonisation is taking big leaps forward. To give a recent example, our colleagues at Grexel in Helsinki were appointed to operate the first EU-wide Guarantees of Origin market for Green Hydrogen. These facts in mind, being an analyst at EEX and from a personal perspective, I feel like the topics my team and I are working on bring all the threads together I’m interested in – and in particular that the knowledge that I have acquired during my studies actually has relevance in my day-to-day work.

What are your tasks as a Business Analyst in Group Strategy at EEX?

As the name indicates, the Group Strategy department coordinates the individual strategies of all business segments across the group: EEX Group consists of 6 entities spread over 17 offices worldwide, from the US East Coast over Madrid, Paris, and Leipzig to Singapore. The goal of my team is to create a common, sustainable and long-term vision for the organisation. This is done in bilateral meetings as well as within larger cross-company rounds. We closely work together with departments and teams in all time zones and, thus, can include all relevant perspectives when it comes to decision-making on a high level.

On a daily basis, my work focuses on upcoming trends and developments in global energy and commodity markets, including, for example, market research and competitor analysis. With mitigation of climate change becoming more and more an essential topic in the financial industry, this is a field where we as an exchange want and can provide solutions and opportunities for all market players. In recent weeks I looked into opportunities of distributed ledger technologies as well, which is very promising right now but met with high expectations. Summing up, the topics I’m working on are very diverse – and this is one of the things that make working here interesting for me and pushes the learning curve.

What kind of advice would you give to someone who has the same interests as you?

All the topics we discussed above – carbon trading, decarbonization of the economy, hydrogen, increase of sustainable finance – have come to stay, so if this is a topic you are interested in, dive into it. As technology around energy is advancing faster than ever, I think that educating oneself and staying on top of what is going on in the commodity world is vital. To give you an example, since I started working at EEX the price for a ton of CO2 in Europe has jumped from 16.50 EUR (1 February 2020, my first day) to an All-Time-High of 57.87 EUR (beginning of July 2021). In the financial press, the recent developments and price spikes are already being dubbed as “commodity super cycle” – so let’s see what the future brings!

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