On a day global markets are tumbling, the ASX announced strong annual results.

Its revenue was $864 million and its profit after tax was $492 million – a rise of 10 per cent. This led to the highest earnings per share on record – $2.54, the seventh straight year it has grown.

Operating expenses also rose by 10 per cent, to $215 million of which $75 million was capital expenditure. This is a figure that could be as high as $80 million this year as the ASX replaces its CHESS system.

The ASX also boasted about attracting more technology and foreign company listings. There are now 202 tech companies on the ASX and it is 3.4 per cent of the market’s value.

It also boasted of the launches of new technology, including its data analytics program (ASX DataSphere) and a new blockchain-based system to replace CHESS.

CEO Dominic Stevens was proud of the results – signalling the business was delivering earnings without compromising the exchange’s quality.

“The 2019 financial year has delivered a number of pleasing outcomes for ASX and our stakeholders,” he said.

“The strong performance of our core businesses underpinned double-digit statutory profit growth, while we have continued to invest in the operation and integrity of our systems and pursued growth opportunities that aim to make business easier for our customers.”

The future

The exchange is not complacent about its present status, promising to invest more into its systems. By the end of the year its Sympli system will go live which will work similarly as e-conveyancing in the property market.

It is also continuing to develop its new system to replace CHESS. It is paying for it with money raised from the sale of its stake in IRESS (ASX: IRE).

According to Bloomberg, the ASX owned 32 million shares in IRESS before selling them in February – worth over $400 million.

Stevens said the ASX was building “an exchange for the future”.

“Our strategy is technology-driven and customer-focused, and based on providing open infrastructure solutions that help our customers create new products and services, improve operational efficiency, and reduce risks and costs,” he said.

“ASX recognises that a sustainable future cannot be built on operational and financial performance alone.

“Hence our work to earn and preserve the confidence of all our stakeholders as a trusted, central and independent party through the evolution of our rules and the integrity of our people and processes.”

He told investors this morning that the answer to why the ASX was investing in DLT or ASX dataSphere was “simple”:

“This is what our customers and regulators expect of us.”