Christmas Greetings from Frankfurt Main Finance

Dear Friends and Members,

As 2016 draws to a close, it is prudent to reflect on the past year, our accomplishments, and the challenges we have met. In doing so, one can be quite content with the strides that Frankfurt Main Finance has made in promoting our Financial Centre within Germany and across the globe. We continued to grow and nurture our international partnerships, sending several delegations to financial centres in Asia and Eastern Europe. At our Financial Centre Breakfasts we enjoyed discussions with Arundhati Bhattacharya, CEO of the State Bank of India, and François Villeroy de Galhau, Gouverneur of the Banque de France. Both of these leaders gave us great insight into some of the challenges facing financial institutions in their countries, in particular digitalization.

This year’s Frankfurt Finance Summit focused on this current trend of digitalization in the financial sector and how major actors address the challenges it presents. We were honored to have Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, deliver a keynote on the European unified strategy for digitalization. In his keynote, Germany’s Minister of Finance, Dr. Wolfgang Schäuble, expressed his views on where the financial industry is heading, challenging businesses to find new, innovative models that fit into our new world.

At the time of the Summit, the results of the United Kingdom’s referendum on EU membership seemed almost unthinkable. Six months later, we can surely say this was just the first of many surprises in 2016. However, Brexit has presented the Financial Centre Frankfurt with an opportunity to become a facilitator, to grow and welcome more institutions into our city. For Frankfurt Main Finance, Brexit thrust our initiative into the international spotlight. Between hundreds of interviews with international press outlets, speeches and panel discussions, and delegation trips, Frankfurt Main Finance has been hard at work spreading the word about our Financial Centre and our cooperative approach to building a new “London Bridge.”

Winning large institutions for Frankfurt is certainly important, but many of our efforts over the past year have been dedicated to the smallest actors. In the beginning of 2016, Frankfurt Main Finance was hard at work with the Dialogue Forum FinTech Frankfurt Rhine-Main to promote our region as a top destination for Financial Technology start-ups. The past year brought with it an explosion in activity in the FinTech ecosystem and culminated in the opening of Frankfurt’s FinTech Hub, Tech Quartier.

As we enter the quiet days around Christmas and the New Year, we can rest satisfied in our diligent work in 2016 advancing our Financial Centre. We are optimistic in our trajectory and look forward to the opportunities and challenges that 2017 will bring. But until they are here, we wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year. May your holidays be rejuvenating, inspiring and filled with joy!

 

Warmest Regards,

Your Frankfurt Main Finance Team

Delegation to Japan & Korea

On behalf of Frankfurt Main Finance, Jochen Biedermann took part in a delegation visit of the state of Hessen to Tokyo and Seoul, led by Tarek Al-Wazir, Minister for Ministry of Economics, Energy, Transport and Regional Development. The high ranking Hessian delegation met political leaders, various ministries, financial service providers and FinTech companies in both countries, Japan and South Korea.

Not only Japanese and Korean banks, but also government officials of both countries were keen to learn more about the German view on “Brexit” and about the advantages of Frankfurt as a potential headquarter for the European operations of Japanese and Korean financial service providers.

Furthermore, an initial contact was established to “FinTech Japan”, the Japanese FinTech association. There is a strong mutual interest in jointly organizing FinTech matchmaking events in course of 2017. With South Korea, already a close partner to Frankfurt in FinTech and beyond, next cooperation steps were discussed, in particular in the area of Blockchain. The FinTech community in South Korea is looking forward to the visit of a German FinTech delegation mid of January 2017, which is organized by Frankfurt Main Finance.

Introduction of the China Competence Center

The China Competence Center (CCC) of the Frankfurt and Darmstadt Chamber of Commerce and Industry is a platform for the Hesse-China economic exchange. It supports its member companies in all questions regarding China business, be it in the import/export, founding of a company, recruitment or other topics. At the same time, the China Competence Center acts as a contact point for the more than 550 Chinese member companies in the Frankfurt Rhine Main area. Each year, the CCC organizes some 30 events; releases publications and sends out a monthly newsletter. Website:http://www.frankfurt-main.ihk.de/international/china_competence_center/de/

Money Museum

Bundesbank’s new Money Museum opens its doors

For a little over two years, the Bundesbank’s Money Museum has been closed to visitors. Following extensive renovation and expansion, it has now reopened. At a ceremony on 16 December 2016, invited guests were able to view first-hand the completely redesigned – and now considerably larger – exhibition. The Money Museum opened its doors to the public on 17 December 2016.

Visitors walking around the museum will visit four themed areas in turn: cash, book money, monetary policy and global money. The cash area will explain payments, discuss the role of banks and give an insight into the new world of banking supervision. Financial stability, which will be presented in the global money section, is another new topic area. One of the highlights of this area will be the “banknote swarm,” a glass wall several square metres in size in which a host of different banknotes from all over the world will be displayed. Visitors will also be able to touch a genuine bar of gold.

The monetary policy area will focus mainly on monetary stability. The showpieces of the Bank’s coin collection will take pride of place in a special money cabinet. Other cabinets branching off from the route of the tour will take visitors on a trip through the history of money. The visitors will learn all about how banking came into being, experience the hyperinflation of the 1920s and delve into the history of central banking in Germany.

In order to convey abstract central banking themes, the exhibition will address visitors’ real-life concerns and relate its artefacts to specific everyday affairs (ATM machine, bank branch, supermarket). Some glass display cases will showcase money-related themes in a manner designed specifically for children (eg a model cash-in-transit vehicle, banknotes with fairy-tale motifs). Interactive media stations (quizzes, memory games, puzzles) convey information about the exhibits in an entertaining way. Experts and interested parties will find more in-depth information at the media stations.

Not only the exhibition rooms are larger

The four themed areas – cash, book money, monetary policy and global money – are arranged around a 360° cinema. The new Money Museum has a total of 1,000 square metres of floor space. It has not only a more spacious vestibule with an information counter but also additional rooms for museum education experiences and special exhibitions. The new coffee shop with an integrated museum shop is much larger as well.

Frankfurt FinTech Report #4

Joint Deutsche Bundesbank and Deutsche Börse blockchain prototype

Deutsche Bundesbank and Deutsche Börse jointly presented a functional prototype for the blockchain technology-based settlement of securities. The innovative prototype is designed to provide the technical functionality for the settlement of securities in delivery-versus-payment mode for centrally-issued digital coins, as well as the pure transfer of either digital coins or digital securities alone. In addition, it is capable of settling basic corporate actions such as coupon payments on securities and the redemption of maturing securities.

The Deutsche Bundesbank and Deutsche Börse plan to develop the prototype further over the next few months, and this product will then be used to analyse the technical performance and the scalability of this kind of blockchain-based application.

“Along with the Deutsche Bundesbank we are innovatively and creatively addressing potentially radical technological opportunities for the financial sector. We will continue to do our utmost to leverage blockchain’s efficiency potential and to better understand and minimise the associated risks of this technology,” added Carsten Kengeter, CEO of Deutsche Börse AG.

DVFA Offers Fit & Proper Training for FinTechs

DVFA has introduced a new training course, designed specifically for FinTechs. The “Fit & Proper” training aims to provide employees and managers in FinTech companies with sufficient experience and competence in the eyes of regulators. Topics covered include Financial Markets, Regulation, Governance and Controlling, and Strategic Management. The course is completely digital, lasts about 25 hours and will kick-off on January 27, 2017. Following the completion of the course work and a 90-minute exam, participants will receive a Certificate in Financial Markets Competence.

Frankfurt’s Tech Quartier Opens

On November 17, the Frankfurt FinTech community celebrated the opening of its new FinTech hub, Tech Quartier, which will soon be home to some of the area’s most innovative start-ups. The current space in the Pollux high-rise has 120 workplaces and an expansion onto a second floor is already planned. At the official opening, Tech Quartier’s Managing Director Dr. Sebastian Schäfer explained, “For the first time, Frankfurt now offers foreign FinTechs and Start-ups an attractive place to start their business in Germany and prepare for their entry to the European market.” The opening of Tech Quartier marks the culmination of nearly a year’s work from the Hessen Ministry for Economics and the FinTech Dialogue Forum, which was initiated by Frankfurt Main Finance. Financial support for Tech Quartier has come from a broad base of large banks and consulting firms. Platinum Sponsors include Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Börse, DZ Bank, Helaba and ING-DiBa. Gold Sponsors are Sparda-Bank Hessen, Allen & Overy, EY, KPMG and PWC.

FinTech Matchmaking

FinTech Matchmaking with Holland FinTech

After a successful round in Amsterdam, Holland FinTech and Frankfurt Main Finance joined forces again in Frankfurt for their second FinTech Matchmaking event. Both the Netherlands and Frankfurt boast a vibrant FinTech scene which makes for an ideal partnership in this international exchange between close neighbors. One of the main challenges for young start-ups is gaining exposure and expanding outside of their domestic markets. The successful Matchmaking event did not only facilitate exchange between participating entrepreneurs but also provided them with an introduction to potential cooperation partners and investors.

On November 25, 2016, more than eighty participants met at the Frankfurt offices of ING-DiBa, who also sponsored the event, to hear pitches from eighteen Dutch and German FinTechs. “Innovations arise when the best and most creative come together and learn from each other. That is why we are happy to support the event and look forward to the exchange,” says Željko Kaurin, Board Member at ING-DiBa. Also supporting the FinTech Matchmaking event was Hessen Trade & Invest. In between the two pitch sessions, the group was also given a tour of Frankfurt’s newly opened FinTech hub, Tech Quartier, and met with the hub’s director Dr. Sebastian Schäfer. The Tech Quartier is an important development for the FinTech ecosystem in Frankfurt and hopes to draw more FinTechs from abroad to the Financial Centre.

Pitching for the Frankfurt robo-advisor Vaamo, Co-Founder and Co-CEO Oliver Vins was quick to recognize the importance of these events for the local FinTech ecosystem. He explained after the event that, “it is always great to see the possibilities Frankfurt has to offer for FinTech companies as well as making international contacts. This is one of the many reasons why Frankfurt is such an ideal location for FinTechs.” Vins is happy to see Frankfurt’s ecosystem increasingly strengthening and attracting more cooperation with other countries. “Events like this help to steadily advance this exchange and always provide engaging contributions. We’re really happy to see more and more of these type of events being organized and to be able to take part as well.”

Based on the overwhelmingly positive feedback from all involved, Frankfurt Main Finance and Holland FinTech already have plans to continue the event series in 2017. Frankfurt Main Finance has a strong focus on creating partnerships and cooperating with other financial centres and joint FinTech events have begun to play a major role in these. To this end, Dr. Lutz Raettig, President of Frankfurt Main Finance, stated, “Many German FinTech companies have successfully established their business models in Germany and are ready to take steps to expand internationally. Through our partnerships with leading financial centres around the world, we are able to support these efforts and work to position the Financial Centre Frankfurt as an attractive destination for foreign FinTech companies. Fintech Matchmaking events like these are a great platform for these young start-ups.”

Participating FinTechs