Helaba Financial Centre Study: Brexit Banks are packing their Bags

Brexit is looming, and many banks are preparing to relocate their business activities from London to other financial centres. Frankfurt is the favourite in this regard and the list of newcomers to the German banking centre is getting longer and longer. “Brexit banks are gradually packing their bags and many of them will be heading for the Rhine-Main region in the future. To date, 25 Brexit banks have opted for the financial centre of Frankfurt, including many well-known institutions. Paris comes some way behind, followed by Luxembourg, Dublin and Amsterdam. This is the result of our current Brexit Map,” explained Dr. Gertrud Traud, Chief Economist and Head of Research at the presentation of the study in Frankfurt.

Some large corporations have designated Frankfurt as their most important EU hub in the future and, in so doing, have made a fundamental strategic decision in favour of the city, which will also be reflected in corresponding staffing levels. On the one hand, some jobs will be transferred to Frankfurt, which will be accompanied by the employees concerned either moving completely or commuting between the two financial centres. On the other hand, a certain number of new employees will be hired here or Germans who have worked with banks abroad will be recruited for the new jobs in Frankfurt. Since the beginning of the year, more and more Brexit banks have been making firm plans to relocate their activities. Additional institutions are still in talks with the local supervisory authorities. All in all, an accumulation of Brexit banks can be observed in Frankfurt that is unparalleled in Europe.

“In principle, our ranking of Europe’s major financial centres continues to apply: London before Frankfurt before Paris”, explains Helaba’s financial centre expert, Ulrike Bischoff. The only aspect that has meanwhile narrowed is the gap between the relative attractiveness of these locations. Frankfurt has been able to improve its competitive position to a greater extent than Paris.

In view of the sometimes very assertive marketing campaigns of other locations, it is vital that the German financial centre presents itself in a self-confident, concerted manner. Since the referendum, for example, the Hessian state government has accompanied the Brexit process with a variety of activities. There is also a network made up of the various players in the region. In addition, Frankfurt is increasingly receiving verbal backing from the federal government. Now, in view of the short time remaining until Brexit, it is important, for instance, to rapidly implement the planned easing of rules on protection against dismissal for top bankers.

The Frankfurt office market is in good shape shortly before the conclusion of the Brexit negotiations. Vacancy rates have fallen significantly, and rents are approaching their previous highs, although they are still well below the level of competing financial centres. Additional demand by Brexit newcomers and an increase in jobs in other sectors should not lead to bottlenecks thanks to a range of project developments. In contrast, the situation on the housing market remains under pressure despite higher construction activity. The shortage of housing can therefore only be overcome in the long term in collaboration with the surrounding area.

Frankfurt’s Brexit banks come from ten counties; most already have a branch office in Frankfurt or are represented via subsidiaries. In addition, many banks would like to establish a presence in Frankfurt for the first time. Together, Brexit banks of foreign origin in Frankfurt had an estimated 2,500 employees here at the end of 2017. In the scope of their Brexit-related adjustments, they are expected to almost double this number by the end of 2020.

Dr. Traud points out that Helaba has adhered to its Brexit forecast ever since the referendum: “At least 8,000 financial sector jobs will be created over the next few years”. Until the end of 2020, the Brexit effect should have a clearly positive impact on Frankfurt’s banking employment and, ultimately, more than offset on-going consolidation processes in the German banking industry. This suggests a total of 65,000 bank employees in Frankfurt, representing growth of around 3 % or an increase of almost 1,800 bankers.

You can find the complete study as a download here [in German].


Deutsches Aktieninstitut – Brexit: it is five to twelve!

Deutsches Aktieninstitut calls upon the European and British negotiating parties to finally place their trade relations on a new sustainable basis. In its third position paper on the Brexit negotiations Deutsches Aktieninstitut shows using as examples tariffs and product approval as well as derivatives and data protection that companies cannot solve all the problems arising due to Brexit on their own.

The position paper can be downloaded here.

The Newcomers Festival: Information and orientation for New-Frankfurters from abroad

A new job, a new city, a new country, a new language – like David Hart from the USA, many have taken this big step. And many have experiences similar to those of the former journalist and current communications and event expert: “It is a challenge and an adventure, but sometimes you are simply overwhelmed by the many changes.” When Hart first came to Germany 30 years ago, he almost gave up after nine months, but then he had his breakthrough and arrived in Frankfurt. It is this uncertainty amongst expats that the agency Communication Solutions, founded by Hart, is tackling. He and his team provide information on living and working in Germany, schools and networks, weekend planning and leisure activities. At the same time, they offer orientation that helps you find your way around the general information offered, the foreign language and despite cultural differences. They want to make the region more accessible and help newcomers settle in more quickly.

“Frankfurt is a city you fall in love with at second sight”, David Hart sums up his experiences at that time, “at the beginning one only knows the striking places, like the airport and the fair”. Frankfurt’s highlights are not as centralized as in London, for example, but the entire region contributes to the attractiveness of the location. That is why it takes a while to discover the many peculiarities of the cities by yourself. “I have collected so much information about Frankfurt, about the cultural offerings, clubs and associations in the region, and I wanted to share this with the many expats who share the same experiences. I wanted to create a platform for this exchange and thus contribute something to the culture of welcome,” Hart said in an interview with Frankfurt Main Finance.

The Newcomers Festival was born. The 18th annual event will be held on the 9th of September. Compared to the first Newcomers Festival in 2001, Hart observes significant changes in Frankfurt’s international community. “When I came to Frankfurt, mostly British and American expats lived here. Today, the community has become more international and colourful, partly because of the end of the Cold War and the eastward expansion of the European Union. By now, the expat community in Frankfurt comes from so many different countries, the city is almost a replica of the United Nations,” describes David Hart his observations. His work has become much more diverse as a result. However, the diversity in languages and cultural backgrounds has posed   new challenges for networking within the community and the corresponding concepts and platforms. This development is also reflected in the Newcomers Festival.

The Newcomers Festival is an event for the whole family. It offers an overview of the entire Rhine-Main area: regions, cities and municipalities present themselves and their leisure activities, service providers familiarise visitors with what they have to offer, schools and universities present themselves and various churches are represented. Clubs and networks will also be present. An event on “soft location factors”, as Hart sums up. There are exhibitions, seminars and workshops, supplemented by practical information on life and work in Germany, Frankfurt and the wider region. In addition, visitors can expect a musical programme and the culinary offerings will reflect that of the region. The festival takes place on Sunday, 9th September from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Frankfurt’s city hall, the Römer, and admission is free.

Events such as the Newcomers Festival are becoming increasingly important due to Frankfurt’s steady growth: “Last year we had a net influx of 13,000 newcomers to Frankfurt. Although the Brexit conditions are still being negotiated and there is still a lot of uncertainty regarding the outcome, one can already notice an increase in demand because of the Brexit.,” reports Hart. Currently, the most important thing is that growth in Frankfurt is managed appropriately. Traffic, schools and kindergartens as well as living space must be developed accordingly. But Hart is very confident that “the right course is being set in the Rhine-Main area at the moment”. After all, the region has gained a great deal of quality of life over the past 30 years and much has been done right.

Frankfurt Brexit

Highly respected and sought-after contact

Frankfurt Main Finance authentically combines the business and social aspects of the region and financial centre

Roland Koch. Quelle_www.roland-koch.de. Foto_Gaby Gerster.

By Roland Koch, Former Prime Minister of Hesse

Over the past decades, Frankfurt am Main has increasingly developed into the most important financial centre in mainland Europe. This was by no means self-evident. Looking back over the same time period, Munich, Stuttgart and Düsseldorf had also their sights set on this role. However, the concentration of financial institutions and European consolidation have led to the finance providers now forming clusters on the River Main. The current developments surrounding Britain’s exit from the European Union will reinforce this development.

The initiative launched in 2008 by the Frankfurt-based banks and the policymakers in the City and region to create an independent mouthpiece for this key sector was all the more significant against this background. It was not intended as competition to the boards of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce or the banking association, but rather to establish an independent position for the people representing the so-called financial sector in a broader sense. This was not only in the interests of the policy-makers, who were seeking a neutral platform of dialogue, but also of the economic sector, which was striving to win over the policy-makers to a common future development through a unified representation overarching the individual positions of different financial institutions and their associations.


Essential Role

However, with its foundation also came the awareness that the initiative would be an organisation which could talk convincingly to other financial industry players outside Frankfurt and Germany about the pros and cons of the Frankfurt location. Over the years, the importance of this role has grown as well.

The Frankfurt stakeholders long ago abandoned the illusion of being able to challenge London’s pole position in Europe in terms of the number of jobs and international significance. The difference in size is just too great. However, on the European continent, Frankfurt am Main can easily outrival the competition. One reason is the presence of such important regulators as the European Central Bank (ECB), the Bundesbank and major divisions of Germany’s financial regulatory authority. Another is the internationality of the banks, and also of the City as a result of the airport. However, the comparison with the “City of London Corporation”, the representative body of the London financial centre, clearly still remains a legitimate incentive even today.

“At no time in history have more executives and employees of international banks been looking at the same time for a location in Europe as at present. Almost all of these searches end with a clear advantage for Frankfurt.”

For all the people in the companies that have agreed to participate in the Frankfurt initiative, this means additional work. We not only owe it to the president, Dr. Lutz Raettig, and the managing director, Hubertus Väth, who shaped the past decade of the initiative, but also to the many associates in Frankfurt’s society and politics, that Frankfurt Main Finance is today a highly respected and sought-after contact.

At no time in history have more executives and employees of international banks been looking for a location at the same time in Europe as at present. Almost all of these searches end with a clear advantage for Frankfurt. Nevertheless, many people – often too many – are sceptical that the quality of life, infrastructure, training opportunities and banking regulation are really good enough for Frankfurt to win the race. However, it is not all just about facts and figures. Very often it’s people’s life philosophy and experience that count. Frankfurt Main Finance has the extraordinary opportunity of being able to credibly combine the economic and social aspects of the Frankfurt region and financial centre in all presentations.

Now, after a decade, we can safely say that the foundation of such a representative organ for the financial industry in Frankfurt was right and important. We can certainly also say after ten years that the sustainability of the initiative founded at that time has been proven. On this sound foundation, it now is entering the next decade. And this decade too will be marked by challenges posed by national legislation, regional activities and the industry itself.

“Now, after a decade, we can safely say that the foundation of such a representative organ for the financial industry in Frankfurt was right and important. We can certainly also say after ten years that the sustainability of initiative founded at that time has been proven.”

Germany is still in a situation where the earnings of banks clearly lag behind those in other European countries. This will lead to cost savings, staff reductions and site closures. For the financial centre, with all the global and regional headquarters, this can certainly prove to be a boost. But it will change the demands made on the employees, the salary levels and the service providers located at the domicile of the companies. Without Brexit, a reduction in the number of employees employed in Frankfurt was to be expected, but this could now turn out completely differently.

Increasing Internationality

Regardless of whether there will be more or differently trained employees, their demands on the region will change. Internationality will increase, therefore more international schools will be needed. University education in the region must adapt to the changed remit, particularly in the area of risk management and general bank controlling. The City’s cultural offer also needs to compete with other European metropolises by staging special events to boost the popularity of the region alongside the already existing superb facilities. The financial centre initiative can make a very important contribution by accurately describing the demands that will be made on the region.

From the very beginning, it was not to be underestimated that the initiative’s specific hallmark includes being recognised by savings banks, cooperative banks and private banks alike. As a result, it has also become an initiative that in terms of national legislation can speak on behalf of the whole financial sector beyond the sectoral interests. This contribution is also highly appreciated by the policy-makers in Berlin and Wiesbaden, and there is still room for expansion.

At present, we are dealing with a completely over-regulated industry, which, together with the legislator, is still struggling with the consequences of the last financial crisis. In international competition, good and secure regulation is just as important as the sector’s ability to flexibly change its business models without unnecessarily bureaucratic hurdles and adapt them to the ever-increasing rapidity of the innovation cycle. The current discussion surrounding the amendment of labour legislation to allow a more flexible deployment of by far above-average earners in investment banking could be a touchstone for this.

At the latest since the beginning of this decade, the financial industry has – understandably – no longer been popular. For Frankfurt, however, it is the most decisive vehicle, along with the airport, for prosperity and growth. At the same time, Frankfurt is home to an industry that will inevitably change in pace with rapid technical innovations. And Frankfurt will also be a good place to work for young people, who will shape their world of the future from here. It would be good if the City, the regional policy-makers and the citizens could look upon these companies and their employees with confidence and some pride.

Business and politics need the support of the citizens to create attractive conditions for the financial centre. Frankfurt Main Finance is an important facilitator between all the stakeholders and institutions. The initiative has proven this over the past decade, and this is precisely what will also be expected of it in the future.


Financial Centre Initiative Resonates Worldwide

FMF knows how to make use of expertise and appreciation in all matters and interests of the financial industry

Lutz Raettig

By Dr. Lutz Raettig, President of Frankfurt Main Finance

This month, Frankfurt Main Finance (FMF) will be celebrating its ten-year anniversary – not without pride of what has been achieved, not without self-criticism as to what could have been done better, and not without respect for what foreseeably still lies ahead of us – but also with confidence and well-founded and justified hopes.

FMF has now been the voice of the Frankfurt financial centre for a decade. This does not only mean the City of Frankfurt, but the region as a whole. The initiative to establish the association is attributed to former Prime Minister of Hesse Roland Koch and the former Lord Mayor of the City of Frankfurt, Petra Roth. Both wanted to remedy an obvious deficiency. After all, according to a very apt analysis by “Börsen-Zeitung” in August 2008, what was lacking – unlike the situation in France or in Great Britain – was an effective, overarching marketing drive for the national financial centre. Another factor in this important and so vital industry for a highly developed economy like Germany was the lack of an independent and clearly audible mouthpiece.

The purpose of the association, as formulated in its founding charter, logically and primarily was to reinforce Frankfurt’s position and that of the Rhine-Main region as a business centre and, in particular, as a location for financial services in international competition. A task that those responsible have been pursuing over the last ten years and have not lost sight of to this day.

“Frankfurt Main what?” This is how the already mentioned article of this newspaper managed to pinpoint the probably most common response to the question concerning Frankfurt Main Finance – appropriate and provocative in the year of its foundation. Today, ten years later, it can be claimed with all justification, backed up by figures, that the financial centre initiative meets with a worldwide response, is appreciated as a competent contact in all matters relating to the financial industry and knows how to benefit from this for positioning the location as such.

This certainly did not happen automatically. One example: Frankfurt Main Finance was ready when Brexit triggered an absolute storm in the European map of the financial industry literally overnight. In the early hours after the officially announced outcome of the Brexit referendum, of all European financial centre initiatives FMF was the first to raise a response, succeeding in drawing the attention of the world press alone. Interviews were given every quarter of an hour.

This elevated FMF to the position of a highly coveted contact. Until today, FMF has been quoted in over 90 countries in the world in just under 6,500 articles in almost 2,000 different media in connection with Brexit alone. The media equivalent value achieved is in the region of 100 million dollars.

No Simple Task

However, in the early years after its foundation, the task at hand was to establish the association, set up work flows, establish topics and work through the financial crisis. It was important to find resonance at all, to be of relevance and to raise money to this end. This was only possible by broadening the membership base. It is never an easy task to collect private money for the public good. This was even more difficult in our foundation phase.

All of us can recall August 2008: the financial crisis had almost reached its peak with the failure of the US investment bank Lehman Brothers. The financial industry was busy reducing its risks and avoiding expenditure like the plague. Therefore, we are all the more grateful to our members, the twelve founding members and some 50 members who have joined us since. Without them, we certainly would not exist today. Many thanks!

The financial crisis and the course it took laid down the topics not only for the media, but also for FMF. To this day, it is a key interest of the financial centre initiative to regain trust and confidence lost in the financial industry, to draw attention to the indispensable services of the financial sector for the welfare of a state and its societal relevance, as well as to raise interests of budding talents for the industry as such.

Additional topics included the following: first of all, RMB Clearing, then Fintech, Regtech, Insurtech, Legaltech – the settlement, promotion and financing of young start-up enterprises in the region that transfer digitisation to the processes of all these industries. In this way, not least thanks to the efforts of FMF, it was possible to establish Frankfurt as a fintech cluster alongside Berlin, virtually at the very last minute. It goes without saying that the region justified this trust and confidence and has since regained a great deal of lost ground. Whereas at the beginning we were asked whether we knew that fintechs would compete with the established banks, today “Coopetition”, a term combining cooperation and competition, has become quite common: it has a secure future, much like sustainability. We are just as willing to lend the Green Finance Cluster our voice as well as many other invaluable initiatives.

“FMF has now been the voice of the Financial Centre Frankfurt for a decade. This does not only mean the City of Frankfurt, but the region as a whole.”

However, the last two years have been characterised by Brexit, by the possible impacts of Great Britain’s decision to leave the European Union and, immediately associated with this, the changing role of Frankfurt as the key financial centre within the EU. Brexit brought Frankfurt into direct competition with other financial locations in Europe, after it was clear that London would foreseeably surrender its role as the leading financial capital within the EU. One of the immediate consequences of Brexit was a self-reflection of Frankfurt and the region on the strengths and advantages of the city and its surroundings.

The level of cooperation with the various institutions fostering economic development, with state and municipal policymakers, as well as with consultants, lawyers and other players at this location has become closer and more efficient in recent years. This is beneficial for the work of FMF and the financial centre. An entity that is all too frequently forgotten is the supervisory sector. Yes, it is true to say that German regulators are a strength of this financial centre. The watchdogs are internationally perceived as competent, clear, challenging and reliable.

Despite the financial centre’s well-founded self-confidence, it was a wise decision not to be aggressive or even divisive when it came to competing for the relocation of jobs from the Thames to the Main River. Frankfurt wants to build bridges rather than tear them down. “Welcome to Frankfurt”“ and “Let’s build a new London Bridge” were the mottos of our campaign with which we competed for banks to settle here following Brexit, a process that is still ongoing. This orientation has certainly proved its worth.

A huge success story

Until today, 25 banks have decided to establish or expand business in Frankfurt, and jobs will be next to follow. The importance of the financial metropolis is growing. Undoubtedly a huge success story. However, it is an achievement that needs to be secured and extended if possible. A task in which the FMF will assume its role.

An anniversary is not only an occasion to celebrate, but also an opportunity to say thanks. This expression of gratitude by the FMF goes to all our fellow campaigners and critics. And of course we are also grateful to our football club, Eintracht Frankfurt. With the three Frankfurt Main Finance Cups in the years 2014 to 2016, we succeeded for the very first time in reaching a broader public in the region and – a matter that is close to our hearts – perhaps it was also possible in this context to finally bring the financial centre and the Eintracht a great deal closer again. If our football club now manages to play an enduring leading European role, that would be quite overwhelming. I now wish to close by quoting Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, one of Frankfurt’s most famous sons: “It’s not enough to want to do something – it also needs to be done.”

Initiative Gives a Face to the Financial Centre

A reliable partner for 10 years with a strong and weighty voice – ideally geared to meet future challenges

Volker Bouffier. © Staatskanzlei

By Volker Bouffier, Prime Minister of the State of Hesse

The initiative Frankfurt Main Finance celebrates its ten-year anniversary, and it is an immense pleasure for me to express my cordial congratulations in this regard! It means a great deal as far as the status and reputation of the initiative is concerned that Börsen-Zeitung publishes special pages on this occasion. I also explicitly wish to express my appreciation and am pleased to take this opportunity to thank those responsible for their long-standing commitment.

The Financial Centre Frankfurt is a great deal more for the state of Hesse than just a significant economic factor. It enriches our federal state as an additional facet of which we are proud. For decades now, the bank towers have been a hallmark of Frankfurt’s city silhouette. You can admire them from an aircraft when taking off or landing at Frankfurt International Airport, when driving across a number of motorways in Hesse or from the elevation of the Große Feldberg.

Over 62,000 people currently work in these impressive bank towers in Frankfurt’s city centre. They are employed by 199 banks – including some 160 international institutions. The unique network of these enterprises is augmented by first-class research facilities. Moreover, the key authorities of the European Financial Markets Supervisory Authority, the European Central Bank (ECB) and our national watchdogs, namely the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) and Deutsche Bundesbank are assembled here at Frankfurt. A brisk start-up scene and numerous fintechs round off the ecosystem of the financial sector that has grown in the course of many years.

Identifying and exploiting opportunities

The government of the state of Hesse intensively follows the development of this financial centre and has a reliable partner in Frankfurt Main Finance. Only in constant exchange between policymakers and industry are we able to respond to current developments of the globally networked financial industry. Policymakers are responsible for creating the necessary fundamental conditions. The shared objective of Frankfurt Main Finance and the government of Hesse is to identify and exploit opportunities in tandem with early detection of risks and taking appropriate precautions. The fact that today in Frankfurt we are talking about the most important financial centre in continental Europe shows that our cooperation is successful and that we have already achieved a great deal together. This constitutes motivation to continue our work with an ambitious and confident mindset.

 “Frankfurt Main Finance has always been the central platform for information and exchange of views. By today, 50 noteworthy members have joined the initiative, representing banks and fintechs as well as universities and consultancy firms.”

A stable and prospering economy has its foundations on a healthy financial and capital market. Just how powerful this relationship is was demonstrated during the Financial Crisis in 2008. The tremors of a stumbling financial sector were felt across the globe and in almost all economic areas and walks of life. Many of the errors previously committed suddenly raised their ugly heads in cumulative form, and today it is in the common interests of policymakers, the financial sector and the real economy that this crisis will not be repeated.

The fact that the initiative Frankfurt Main Finance was founded at this precise moment in time was an important signal and of outstanding importance for Frankfurt as a financial centre. This is particularly so because here in Frankfurt lies the monetary heart of Europe’s most important economy.

Since then, Frankfurt Main Finance has been the central platform for information and exchange. By today, 50 noteworthy members have joined the initiative, representing banks and fintechs as well as universities and consultancy firms. Understanding their needs, pooling resources and formulating positions is the collective mandate of Frankfurt Main Finance. Those responsible – led by President Dr Lutz Raettig – meet this requirement in an outstanding manner and, not least, due to their many years’ experience and remarkable international network.

 “The Financial Centre Frankfurt is a great deal more for the state of Hesse than just a significant economic factor. It enriches our federal state as an additional facet of which we are proud.”

However, the task at hand also includes creating a bridge to companies operating in the real economy and to consumers. Understanding the mechanisms of the banking and capital market – particularly in times of rapid digital change and global networking – is not easy and at the same time represents the basis for trust and confidence. Over many years, a vacuum had originated here that could only be resolved through personal commitment, information, and the breaking down of complex facts. Frankfurt Main Finance has given a face to the financial centre of Frankfurt and the institutions to which it serves as a home. This creates credibility, reputation and reliability.

No easy tightrope act

In the past ten years, the general framework conditions for the financial industry have undergone significant change. Today, the regulation standards are much higher, and supervisory structures have been adjusted in relation to 2008. In Europe, at present we clearly are on the important path towards a capital market and banking union. In terms of all agreed measures, policymakers always focus on securing financial market stability while maintaining competitiveness in an international environment. This certainly is no easy tightrope act, which is becoming even more challenging due to geopolitical changes and the process of digital transformation.

The Financial Centre Frankfurt is ideally prepared to meet these challenges. I have already described the very special network comprising all relevant market participants at a single location, with short distances between them. The stability of the financial and economic environment and the reputation of local supervisors are high and important location factors. Another positive factor is a high-performance infrastructure. With Frankfurt International Airport and the central rail and tram traffic systems, the city is ideally connected to European and international capitals, and the world’s biggest Intranet hub in terms of sheer data throughput is “Deutsche Commercial Internet Exchange (DE-CIX)” in Frankfurt. At our local universities and specialised research facilities, we train budding junior talents of which we are proud and for which we are envied at other financial locations across the globe.

We therefore have every reason to look to the future with optimism and self-confidence. Following Great Britain’s decision to leave the EU, which we greatly regret, there is nothing to stop us from moving up into leading position within the overall European structure. At present, we are experiencing intensive location-based competition between financial centres in continental Europe. The question here is who stands to benefit most from the necessary relocation in the wake of Brexit of international banks and service providers from London to the EU 27. The fact that meanwhile many experts – not only in Germany – express their assumption that Frankfurt could become the big winner amongst all continental financial centres is a partial success story of which we are proud.

Time to abandon a stand-alone attitude

At the same time, however, I am convinced that we need to abandon this insular mindset. Europe will only be competitive on an international scale if we cooperate and can truly speak of a European financial centre. Previously, around the world London was widely accepted in this position, and I can say with all due confidence that we plan to take over this role in Frankfurt in the not too distant future. The main prerequisite for this is that we remain attractive in the long run and build bridges to Paris, Dublin, Luxembourg and other financial centres. However, our link to the City of London also remains important. And in London ambassadors like Frankfurt Main Finance certainly are in demand.

Brexit offers us a momentum that we should not leave unused. For this reason, in exchanging views with other market participants, we are taking a very close look at the local framework conditions and discussing where we can lay the foundations to remain attractive in the long term. In the process, we also take into account our high standards as well as the activities of our competitors and changes unfolding in a worldwide structure. Here are two examples to show what I am talking about: For one thing, the future positioning of the clearing business of derivatives denominated in euros; for another, ideas concerning future financial supervisory structures in Europe. This is where the guidelines are being defined for the coming years and where we adopt a clear and unambiguous stance.

We perceive the current challenges as a major opportunity. It is particularly in this process that we need the strong and weighty voice of Frankfurt Main Finance. Accordingly, I look forward to the continuation of our mutual collaboration!

Financial Centre Frankfurt

A Network for the Future of the Financial Centre

Frankfurt is well equiped for this  – forum creates platform for discourse on wide array of topics

Peter Feldmann. © Stadt Frankfurt am Main

by Peter Feldmann, Lord Mayor of the City of Frankfurt am Main

Frankfurt Main Finance combines two traditions of particular significance to Frankfurt. One is the history of the city as a trade and financial location going back to the 13th century; another is its almost just as long history of civic dedication and commitment. It is part of our tradition of merchants and guilds to support our common interests through our own initiative.  Frankfurt Main Finance continues this principle in modern form, which is why, as Lord Mayor of the city, I would like to express my warm congratulations on the initiative’s ten-year anniversary.

On the city’s pulse

Frankfurt’s prosperity is inseparable from its role as an international financial capital. With its clear commitment to the region as the second-largest economic area of the Federal Republic of Germany, Frankfurt Main Finance has become an irreplaceable partner for us in the field of location-based marketing.

Not only does the initiative emphasise Frankfurt’s hard location factors such as its favourable traffic hub, its location for companies of international renown as well as its role as the European centre for monetary policy and regulation. It advertises the region’s quality of life just as vigorously. FMF keeps its finger on the city’s pulse. Whoever is on the lookout for news on the city’s football team’s victory in the DFB Cup Final or about the refurbished old city district will soon discover everything they need to know on the pages of Frankfurt Main Finance. And whoever is a newcomer and needs leisure time tips will also find them here. “Financial Centre Initiative” may sound brittle, but it is not.

In its role as a forum, Frankfurt Main Finance creates a platform for discourse on numerous topics to do with the city as a financial centre. In doing so, the association involves players from business, politics, media, academia, administration and associations alike. It unites and combines many different perspectives, overcoming the boundaries of the relevant disciplines in the process. Impetus of the kind delivered in the direction of Sustainable Finance, combining economic and ecological components, is exemplary in this regard.

Both the financial centre and the city benefit from this interdisciplinary approach. Frankfurt Main Finance’s approach is just as diverse: meetings, get-togethers, trips to international locations, specialist publications available for download, social media offerings – a communication mix with an impressive, multi-faceted nature. This is where the city of Frankfurt likes to be a partner, as was the case most recently on a shared tour for business journalists on the subject of euro clearing.

FinTechs take up a broad realm in the offering presented by the initiative. These innovative businesses are particularly within the City’s focus – just as Frankfurt is becoming increasingly important as an alternative to other locations like Berlin, for instance: in 2017, the consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) canvassed 450 businesses throughout Germany that were established no longer than 10 years ago including 50 start-ups in metropolitan Frankfurt, also from the eCommerce and financial services sector. 90% of these anticipated a rising importance of Frankfurt as a start-up hub. Almost all respondents assessed the founder climate as “good” to “very good”.

“It is part of our tradition of merchants and guilds to support our common interests through our own initiative. Frankfurt Main Finance continues this principle in a modern form.”

The statistics certainly confirm this assessment. Berlin has 3.7 million inhabitants; Hamburg has 1.86 million. Frankfurt, Germany’s fifth-biggest city with a population of 730,000 ranks in 3rd position for business start-ups. In order to boost this development, I took the initiative to establish a large institute for artificial intelligence, which is intended to build bridges between science and theory as well as business and practice. In doing so, we will make the opportunities derived from the technological future accessible to a broad public comprising the business community and society at large.

Promising ecosystem

The positive development under way in our city has also been confirmed by others. The conclusion reached in a study commissioned by the Goethe University and other partners, reads as follows: “The message is clear: Frankfurt is a highly promising ecosystem, but there are still key areas in which collaboration is urgently needed.” And here is another invaluable function of the initiative: the City has a partner at its side with a critical viewpoint when it comes to potential of improvement. After all, we cannot afford to rest on our laurels. However, this will only work in collaboration and interaction with many others. Not only do these include over 200 credit institutions – along with some 160 foreign banks – but also regulators such as the European Central Bank (ECB), Deutsche Bundesbank and the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin).

Looking beyond our borders

The highly dense financial academic research network in the region ensures an analytical viewpoint. However, it is just as necessary to take a view beyond one’s own perimeters, such as into the insurance sector, the real economy or other financial centres. To this end, the Frankfurt Main Finance offers the suitable framework, which is why the City is one of its members. After all, we can only think of the future of the financial centre in networking mode. And the City is well prepared for this!

Frankfurt Main Finance – ten years of service to the financial centre

Frankfurt Main Finance (FMF) has reason to celebrate. The financial centre initiative was founded ten years ago and is continuously growing in importance. FMF has also grown in size since the Brexit referendum and its impacts on the financial sector; today it has more than 50 highly reputed members. Founded in 2008 as a reaction to the financial crisis and at the instigation of Roland Koch, then Prime Minister of Hesse, together with Petra Roth, the former Lord Mayor of Frankfurt, FMF lends the financial sector in Frankfurt and the region a voice that resonates across the world.

“The Financial Centre Frankfurt plays an important role in addressing the major challenges posed to the financial sector by the UK’s exit from the European Union,” says Hessian Prime Minister Volker Bouffier. “In these times, it is important for Frankfurt Main Finance to pool the interests of the financial sector in Hesse and in the federal republic and makes them heard. This also benefits trade and industry and, consequently, the state of Hesse as a whole.”

“Frankfurt is a cosmopolitan, liveable and international city. The finance metropolis is an outstanding and attractive business location. Its central location in Europe along with the requisite infrastructure and proximity to the Central Bank are additional assets that speak in its favour,” says Frankfurt’s mayor, Peter Feldmann. “Frankfurt can contribute substantially to financial stability in Europe, and Frankfurt Main Finance has communicated the city’s capabilities all around the world for years with obvious success.”

Dr. Lutz Raettig, president of Frankfurt Main Finance, says: “We are proud that our consistently growing membership has placed their trust in us throughout the years. For us, this is an incentive to tackle the tasks ahead with great enthusiasm and continue to take responsibility for the financial centre. To do this we rely on our excellent and lasting partnerships with the state of Hesse, Hessen Trade & Invest, the cities of Frankfurt and Eschborn, and their economic development agencies.”
Currently, one of the top priorities of Frankfurt Main Finance is to position the Financial Centre Frankfurt and its greater region in the competition for jobs being relocated from London to the European Union. The Financial Centre on the River Main has been the focus of worldwide attention since the early hours of the day after the UK’s Brexit referendum. Being prepared and able to speak up from the very first moment brought Frankfurt a decisive media advantage, which FMF has consequently used to showcase the city’s strengths where scepticism or ignorance towards the Main Metropolis prevail.

Since March 2016, when the topic of Brexit first began to emerge on the media landscape, Frankfurt Main Finance has been mentioned in more than 2,000 different media and 96 countries in connection with this topic alone, approximately 850 interviews have been conducted, adding up to a total of some ten billion potential readers reached. FMF representatives attended relevant events in the US, Japan, Korea, China, the Middle East and, of course, many times over in London, Paris and Brussels, to represent the position of the Financial Centre Frankfurt.