Refinitiv Webinar

Compliance and Sustainability – Value creating third-party risk programmes

Webinar description: “Following a survey of 1,800 global third-party risk professionals, we are hosting a two-part webinar series to review the findings – focusing on the relationship between compliance and sustainability, and the impact on third-party risk programmes.

In the first webinar we explored the reasons to review third-party risk programmes, and in the upcoming webinar on Tuesday 26th May we will discuss practical aspects of how to turn third-party risk programmes into centres of value creation.

  • What are the expectations of investors in terms of the supply chain and third party risk networks?
  • How can we efficiently incorporate ESG concerns into third-party risk programmes?
  • How can we introduce automation in workflows and research given the growing complexity of supply chain networks?”

Webinar

Date:   26th May

Time:  14:00 BST| 15:00 CEST

Please register – https://refini.tv/2TebD8W –  if you would like to attend this webinar. If you are interested but you’re unavailable, register and Refinitiv will send you the webinar recording.


 

China Policy Update by Dentons and China Europe International Exchange

In terms of level playing field engagement in international cooperation, governments are seeking different measures. The German Foreign Trade and Payments Act—to be put in place this summer—is one of these policies. Who is affected by the decision? What does it mean in detail? Learn more in the China Policy Update provided by Dentons and China Europe International Exchange (CEINEX).

China Policy Update

28 May 2020

10.30-11.30 CEST (16.30-17.30 CST)

Register here.

 

What will the post-COVID era look like in Africa? What are the challenges and opportunities?

Our partner Casablanca Finance City will host a webinar on the challenges and opportunities that the post-Corona era provides for Africa:

Lockdown may progressively be lifting in Africa but its impact will live on. Casablanca Finance City is bringing together international experts and representatives from companies operating in Africa, to discuss the outlook and prospects of post-COVID Africa.

The panel will cover field experiences from different industries and the impacts on their respective businesses:

  • How will the private sector be impacted in Africa?
  • How is the financial services community supporting companies operating on the continent?
  • How can the digitalization boost be leveraged to support economic recovery? What are the risks?
  • What are the social impacts between employers and employees?

 

Understanding the landscape in a post Covid era: Outlook and prospects in Africa

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

12:00 pm Casablanca Time (UTC)

Moderator: Peter Walts, COO, ELA Alliance

Register here.

German-British Chamber of Industry & Commerce Webinars

The German-British Chamber of Industry and Commerce invites you to a webinar series and online discussions.

It starts with the topic “UK – The Corona-crisis and the impacts on Brexit” on friday, May 15th 2020, 8.00am UK time. Read more

Lockerungen der Corona Maßnahmen in Hessen: Kinder auf dem Spielplatz

Hessian state government decides to open hair salons, playgrounds and cultural facilities

Minister President Volker Bouffier: “We are easing restrictions where we can justify them.”

The state government of Hesse decided today to relax corona restrictions following a video conference with Chancellor Angela Merkel and the ministers president on Thursday, 30 April 2020. Beginning on 4 May 2020, hair salons and barbershops, museums and zoos, among others, will be permitted to open in Hesse, subject to social distance and hygiene rules. Playgrounds may also be used again.

“We are far from being over the pandemic. For this reason, protecting the health of our citizens still remains our top priority. We are staying the course and we are easing restrictions where we can justify them. Competition between the states to see who can return to normality the quickest will not help anyone. We are moving forward step by step and in a prudent manner. At the same time, we want to give people an outlook for the future,” Minister President Volker Bouffier said in Wiesbaden.

The following will be permitted to open in Hesse as of 4 May 2020, subject to social distance and hygiene rules:

    • Playgrounds
    • Museums, exhibitions, castles and memorials, under the specification, that use is of an individual nature. Group activities or tours may not be offered. As a guideline, one person should be allowed per 20 square metres.
    • Animal parks, zoos and botanical gardens
    • Dog groomers and dog schools
    • Copy shops
    • Driving schools, music schools and private lessons (for individual lessons and small groups up to five people)
    • Hairdressers and other personal care services such as cosmetic and nail salons, tattoo parlours, and massage practices. Providers must wear a mouth and nose covering for the entire duration of customer contact. Mouth and nose coverings are also mandatory for customers. These may only be removed if the services can only be rendered without said covering.
    • Previously prohibited elective medical operations and surgeries in clinics and outpatient practices, may be performed.
    • In all health care facilities, such as hospitals and doctors’ offices, mouth and nose coverings must be worn. This obligation also applies in shopping streets and covered shopping centres.
    • Classroom training will be resumed in the training of civil servants and employees in the public sector, when completion was planned for 2020. This also includes sports training and examinations.

On Wednesday, 6 May 2020, consultations between Chancellor Merkel and the leadership of the federal states entered the next round. The agenda included concepts for opening day-care centres, schools, sports facilities, restaurants and pubs, as well as the topic of trade. “I expect thorough and constructive discussions and hope that, wherever possible, we will be able to adopt uniform regulations and that citizens, especially families, will be given a clearer outlook for the future,” emphasised Minister President Bouffier.

 

*** Note ***

All ordinances are continuously published and updated on corona.hessen.de.

Unprecedented slump in CFS Index

The CFS Index, which measures the business climate of the German financial sector on a quarterly basis, slumps by -15.4 points to 98.8 points. This is the sharpest decline on record since the index surveys began in 2007 and the first time the index has fallen below the neutral line of 100 points since 2009. Expectations of the financial sector for the current quarter have turned especially bleak. Huge slumps in revenue, earnings and investment are expected, with service providers in particular anticipating an extreme decline in revenue and earnings, now also accompanied by job cuts. By contrast, the job cuts at financial institutions, which have been ongoing for some time now, remain almost flat, and the current quarter is not expected to bring as steep a decline as the other index values.

“There has never been such a severe deterioration in financial industry expectations of all the measured performance indicators – revenues, earnings, employee numbers, investment – since the survey began in 2007 – not even during the financial crisis of 2008. It would therefore appear crucial to pay the utmost attention to impacts on financial stability when pursuing rescue and recovery measures in reaction to the coronavirus pandemic – especially now that we have created a supervisory regime that makes a wholesale bailout difficult,” Professor Jan Pieter Krahnen, Director of the Center for Financial Studies, interprets the results.

Owing to the corona crisis, the future international importance of the Financial Centre Germany is also seen to be progressively declining. The corresponding sub-index falls by -5.8 points to 111.2 points and is now at its lowest level since 2012. The decline is increasingly driven by the assessment of the service providers. The relevant value for this group stands at 113.7 points, 7.8 points lower than in the previous quarter. The assessment of the financial institutions falls by -3.6 points to 108.8 points.

Dr. Lutz Raettig, President of Frankfurt Main Finance e.V., explains, “The slump in the rating of Germany’s future international importance as a financial centre is a result of the uncertainty surrounding, and not clearly foreseeable course of the global corona pandemic. In fact, Germany is considered to be on the cutting edge in managing the current crisis. The federal and state governments were able to rely on an efficient financial sector and get the billion-euro “corona protection shield for Germany” up-and-running in the shortest possible time without triggering negative reactions on the capital markets.”

Financial industry expects huge slumps in revenue, earnings and investment in the current quarter

The surveyed financial institutions and service providers report a significant decline in their revenues/business volume in the first quarter of 2020, with the corresponding index value dropping by
-8.2 points to 112.4 points for the financial institutions and by -13.8 points to 108.6 points for the service providers, relative to the previous quarter. With these figures for the first three months of 2020, each sector is still only 2.6 points below the previous year’s level. However, the financial industry is anticipating the sharpest drop in revenues since the surveys began in 2007 and an index value of well under 100 points for the current quarter.

The earnings of both groups developed in line with revenues in the first quarter of 2020. The corresponding sub-index for the financial institutions reached a level of 103.3 points after falling by
-8.0 points, but is still 2.3 points above the previous year’s level. The service providers report an extreme decline in revenue growth. The sub-index drops by -16.4 points to 106.4 points. Although this is still close to the previous year’s level for the first quarter, this group is anticipating an extraordinary slump to well under 100 points in the current quarter.

Growth in investment volume now below last year’s level

The growth in investment volume in product and process innovations in the financial sector also declined in the first quarter of 2020, but not to the same extent as the revenue and earnings figures. The corresponding sub-index falls by -6.9 points to 101.8 points for the financial institutions and by -4.5 points to 108.1 points for the service providers. The financial institutions are now 10.2 points below last year’s level, the service providers are 6.7 points below. With respect to the current quarter, the financial sector as a whole is expecting a strong decline in investment to a level well below 100 points. Among the service providers, however, the expected downturn in investment is less pronounced than the extreme revenue and earnings declines anticipated in this segment.

Financial institutions: job cuts almost flat in the first quarter / Current quarter slump should not be as severe as other index values / Service providers: jobs expected to be shed for the first time since 2009

Job cuts at the financial institutions, which have been ongoing for some time, are less severe in the first quarter of 2020 than in the previous quarter. The employee numbers sub-index rises accordingly by 0.7 points to 95.2 points, just 1 point under the previous year’s level. Although the service providers hired fewer employees in the first quarter of 2020 than in previous quarters, their employee numbers indicator remains in positive territory, at 105.5 points, after slipping by just -0.6 points. For the current quarter, the financial institutions are expecting a larger reduction in employee numbers, albeit less drastic than the anticipated declines in other index values. By contrast, the service providers are expecting to shed jobs for the first time since 2009.

 

 

The results are based on a quarterly management survey in the German financial sector.

The Center for Financial Studies (CFS) conducts independent and internationally-oriented research in important areas of Financial and Monetary Economics, ranging from Monetary Policy and Financial Stability, Household Finance and Retail Banking to Corporate Finance and Financial Markets. CFS is also a contributor to policy debates and policy analyses, building upon relevant findings in its research areas. In providing a platform for research and policy advice, CFS relies on its international network among academics, the financial industry and central banks in Europe and beyond.

CFS survey: “Effects of the corona crisis”

German financial industry expects economic impacts to exceed those of the 2008 financial crisis – Equity capital measures broadly welcomed

A CFS survey of financial industry executives shows that around 78% of the respondents expect the economic impacts of the corona crisis to be significantly more severe than those of the 2008 financial crisis.

So far the rescue measures adopted by the German government, amounting to around €750 billion, consist largely of special loans and loan guarantees.

Over 60% of the survey participants regard the measures taken by the Federal Government as appropriate, another 24% of those surveyed would like to see even higher levels of support, while just 12% consider the current package excessive. When asked what form the assistance should take, just under 80% of respondents said they would welcome more equity measures, in addition to the loan programmes, to prevent corporate debt levels from rising further. Only 13% of those surveyed are opposed to equity measures.

“The financial industry would surely give a strong boost to the acceptance of government support in the form of equity capital – this could prove crucial to securing and regaining financial stability in Europe,” explains Professor Jan Pieter Krahnen, Director of the Center for Financial Studies.

The respondents are divided on whether financial assistance should be coordinated on a Europe-wide basis, i.e. allocated according to shared standards. This is endorsed by 54% of the financial sector respondents and opposed by 41%.

The assistance programmes in Europe vary greatly in scale – large in Germany, small in Italy. Do these differences pose a threat to the European Monetary Union/eurozone in the medium term? Respondents clearly regard the disparity in the size of assistance packages in northern and southern Europe as the main threat to the eurozone – 85% see dangers looming here.

“Since the disparity in dimensions is far more strongly identified as a problem than a lack of international coordination of support programmes, this could provide an important insight for policy-makers. It is also in the self-interest of the northern countries to counteract the asymmetry of rescue packages at European level – whether the programmes are coordinated or not,” explains Professor Krahnen.

A large majority of financial industry executives (approx. 85%) see a risk of European Monetary Union stability being jeopardized due to the extensive support programmes at EU and individual member state level. Approximately 48% of the participants oppose the introduction of joint EU debt in the form of corona bonds, while around 23% could envisage them.
A remarkably high 30% of the survey participants do not hold a firm opinion on this issue.

Hubertus Väth, Managing Director of Frankfurt Main Finance e.V., emphasises, “The current crisis demands and promotes global coordination in the fields of medicine, science and business. Although global interconnectedness eased the rapid spread of the corona pandemic, it also plays a key role in solving the crisis, which will be done much faster through cooperation. This factor still receives too little attention.“

 

 

The results are based on a quarterly management survey in the German financial sector.

The Center for Financial Studies (CFS) conducts independent and internationally-oriented research in important areas of Financial and Monetary Economics, ranging from Monetary Policy and Financial Stability, Household Finance and Retail Banking to Corporate Finance and Financial Markets. CFS is also a contributor to policy debates and policy analyses, building upon relevant findings in its research areas. In providing a platform for research and policy advice, CFS relies on its international network among academics, the financial industry and central banks in Europe and beyond.

World Alliance of International Financial Centers (WAIFC) on “The role of financial centers in driving economic growth.”

In 2018, financial services leaders from around the globe assembled to announce a new strategic initiative: The World Alliance of International Financial Centers. WAIFC is an international non-profit association, which represents leading global financial centers and facilitates cooperation and the exchange of best practices.

In the context of the present uncertainties, with the consequences of the coronavirus and the slowing down of economic growth all around the world, financial centers must play an even more essential role to accompany a necessary recovery and the orientation of the economies towards sustainable development and the satisfaction of the economic needs.

Together with WAIFC member Casablanca Finance City, WAIFC has published a report in collaboration with Oxford Business Group on “the role of financial centers in driving economic growth,” which highlights the breadth and diversity of financial centers’ activities in financing their real economies.

Eleven financial centers have contributed to the report with their showcases:

    • Abu Dhabi Global Market
    • Astana International Financial Center
    • Belgian Finance Center
    • Busan International Financial Center
    • Casablanca Finance City
    • Frankfurt Main Finance
    • Hong Kong Financial Services Development Council
    • Luxembourg for Finance
    • Paris Europlace
    • TheCityUK
    • Toronto Finance International

The financial industry undergoes a process of structural change. Nowadays, the priority actions of our members concern environmental finance, technological innovation and infrastructure, as well as social and territorial financing. International financial centers are more reliant on technology, and our members have been driving innovations in the financial industry by supporting the adoption of innovative technologies from cloud computing and blockchain to artificial intelligence and big data. Also, our members are increasingly promoting all segments of sustainable finance and strive to ensure that environmental and social considerations are adequately taken into account and integrated into the financial sector moving forward.

The new report provides an overview of those activities. It is available for free download at https://frankfurt-main-finance.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/WAIFC-role-of-financial-centres.pdf.

Arnaud de Bresson, Chairman of the WAIFC Board of Directors and CEO of Paris Europlace, says:

“The WAIFC was created to foster collaboration among international financial centers and to build up a global network. It aims to accelerate the dialogue and exchange of best practices among them and develop communication with the general public. Our core objective is that finance should not be self-centered but rather serve the real economy all around the world. We are committed to supporting global economic transformations, fostering the combination of public and private funding, and contributing to meet the sustainable development goals all around the world.”

Said Ibrahimi, Member of the WAIFC Board of Directors and CEO of Casablanca Finance City, says:

“As a founding member of the WAIFC as well as the first financial center in Africa to join the alliance, CFC is proud to contribute an African perspective that showcases the level of international cooperation in its undertakings on the continent. We strongly believe in Africa’s potential, and the pivotal role global financial centers play in driving growth and contributing to socio-economic development. We aspire through this report to make these benefits known beyond the world of finance.”

Dr. Jochen Biedermann, Managing Director of the WAIFC, says:

“Financial centers are vital to sustaining economic growth. They provide the infrastructure for investment that drives entrepreneurial endeavors and economic growth across industries and communities and increasingly contribute to sustainable development and financial literacy. Our members embrace innovation and actively drive developments in that space. They provide fertile ground for start-ups with new ideas and innovative business models. The diversity of WAIFC members is an important strength.”

Hubertus Väth, Member of the WAIFC Board of Directors and managing Director of Frankfurt Main Finance, says: “Frankfurt Main Finance is proud to be a co-founder of the WAIFC network. Especially in times when the financial industry is facing enormous challenges, it becomes clear that solutions in an interconnected world can often only be found through international cooperation. This applies in particular to the financial sector. The financial center Frankfurt, in the heart of Europe, is a natural partner in such a cooperation.”

 

The World Alliance of International Financial Centers (WAIFC) is a non-profit association registered in Belgium, representing 16 leading international financial centers of four continents. WAIFC members are city governments, associations, and similar institutions developing and promoting their financial centers.

In an era of breakthrough technologies and rapid social change, financial centers are crucial to sustaining economic growth. Thus, the objective of the WAIFC is to create a transparent network that facilitates cooperation and sharing of best practices to further the understanding of the importance of international financial centers for national and global economies as well as social development.

Dr. Lutz Raettig: Protective Shield for Germany leverages financial centre’s efficient infrastructure

Politicians rely on an efficient financial sector for their economic protection programmes. Under KfW’s leadership, the entire breadth of the development banking system and the financial centre’s infrastructure has been deployed.

“Waste not, want not.” This proverb characterised the budgetary policy of the federal and state governments. Internationally, the “black zero,” the surplus in the budgets of the federal and state governments, has long been a hot topic. Now, however, it is precisely this room for manoeuvring that allowed politicians to get the “Protective Shield against Coronavirus in Germany,” likely in excess of 500 billion euros, up-and-running in quick order without triggering negative capital market reactions.

The largest aid package since the Second World War includes short-time work benefits, the deferral of social security contributions, tax-privileged one-time payments to employees, and a large number of aid and credit programmes for the self-employed, as well as small, medium- and large companies. The interest rates vary slightly, depending mainly on the exemption from liability for the lender.

Germany as a pioneer

Governments at the federal and state level have acted quickly, correctly and courageously. In doing so, they have relied on the financial centre’s efficient infrastructure, which has been successfully proven for decades. The state, development banks and local banks are well coordinated to quickly and efficiently process and disburse loans.

Borrowers apply for a loan from their local bank, which checks eligibility and creditworthiness, while a development bank provides the funds. Depending on the programme, the local bank can be exempt from liability up to 100%, while the development bank can refinance itself on the market with favourable terms because it has a state guarantee either explicitly or implicitly through the legally established institutional liability and guarantor liability. Moreover, due to the urgency of the situation, new programmes are usually not developed, but rather expanded and easier access to existing ones has been facilitated.

With KfW Bankengruppe and Landwirtschaftliche Rentenbank, Germany has two federally owned development banks. In addition, the federal states also have their own investment and promotional banks. For many years, KfW carried its corporate objective in its name, as it was founded in 1948 as the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau as part of the Marshall Plan. After the Second World War, comparable institutions existed only in France, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland. It was not until 1989, first in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, then increasingly in other EU countries from 2008 onwards, that comparable concepts were implemented and corresponding banks were established. Today, KfW is one of the world’s leading development banks in the world, with a AAA rating from the three most important rating agencies.

Financial stability concerns

With the loan programmes, the government mandates the German banking system to provide corporate customers with financial “medicine” for “acute care” and later “rehabilitation” based on its in-depth knowledge and experience

The corona pandemic shows how valuable a healthy finance sector can be for the real economy during a crisis. However, even the financial industry is not immune to the risks of drastic measures. Therefore, prudent principles must continue to apply to banks as well.

Against this backdrop, it is understandable when politicians and supervisors urge banks to waive bonuses and dividend payments due from 2019, at least if the banks do not receive the distributions as a capital gain. Although the banks have significantly increased their equity capital, the further course of the crisis is by no means clear enough to allow a sufficiently robust risk assessment to be made today.

BaFin and the Bundesbank have already taken far-reaching preventative measures together at the European level with the European Central Bank and the financial supervisory authorities. As BaFin President Felix Hufeld summarized, “The existing regulatory framework grants us a high degree of supervisory flexibility, of which we will fully utilise. We will relieve the burden on banks where this is possible without compromising financial stability.”

When visiting BaFin’s website on Corona, one gains an impression of the range of measures being taken. These relate to banking, insurance and securities markets, and range from waiving the planned countercyclical capital buffer, the treatment of problem loans, the postponement of Basel III standards by one year to the shortfall in pension funds and reporting obligations under the Market Abuse Regulation.

Drawing lessons from the pandemic

Just like the financial crisis in 2008, the corona pandemic in 2020 should be a point for reorientation. It should be clear that Germany, as the world’s fourth-largest economy, must have an efficient financial sector to overcome crises.

In addition to the development banks and local banks, capital markets also play an important role, as this is where the programmes are financed. In this respect, the Financial Centre Frankfurt is outstandingly positioned in Europe. Gradually, institutional investors should also be included in financing the new start, because they can leverage and thus strengthen existing programmes. The role of international financial institutions should not be underestimated either. Here, Frankfurt has scored points in recent years by bringing more than 30 international financial institutions to the Main with their new EU headquarters. These institutions can now see that their choice of location was the right one because here, challenges were solved pragmatically.

Regulation is now being put to the test as well. There is no doubt that many components will demonstrably contribute to stability. Other rules will require review in the light of the crisis, especially where complexity is unfavourable in relation to the desired outcome.

It is certainly clear that digitalisation will receive an enormous boost. It will be irreversible. Simplification and de-bureaucratization of existing regulations will ease digitalisation efforts. The criteria should be adjusted by all parties involved. Our perfectionism, which is so valued worldwide, should be pragmatically adjusted in the light of the crisis. After all, we now are experiencing how, with a little flexibility, the challenges of the lock-down can be mastered in a way that was not imaginable just a few weeks ago.

What efforts the corona pandemic will still demand of politicians, the populace and the economy cannot yet be seriously predicted. At this point, whether it is a “black swan” event or, as the author of the book of the same name, Nassim Taleb, claims – simply an expected shock, is more of an academic question. We can only hope that the medical and pharmaceutical sector will quickly find a vaccine and/or an effective therapeutic treatment for the coronavirus and that those responsible can agree on economic and public health measures to better guard against future pandemics. Hopefully, we will not waste the lessons of our current emergency and be forced to relearn them in the next.

Asahi Shimbun interviewed Hubertus Väth

Kazuo Teranishi, correspondent for Asahi Shimbun, one of the oldest and largest national daily newspaper in Japan, interviewed Hubertus Väth during his visit in Tokyo in March 2020, which took part in the FinCity Global Forum (hosted by FinCity.Tokyo).

Read more