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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
- 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.
Frankfurt am Main – The financial centre initiative Frankfurt Main Finance e.V. welcomes three new members. CRIF Bürgel, Deloitte Deutschland, and European DataWarehouse join the initiative as sustaining members.
“We bid our new members a very warm welcome! With their added support and the support of our long-standing members, we work towards the sustainability and efficiency of the Financial Centre Frankfurt. Our joint efforts significantly benefit the financial centre and have a lasting, positive impact on its worldwide prominence and reach,” says Dr. Lutz Raettig, President of Frankfurt Main Finance.
“Just like CRIF Bürgel, Frankfurt Main Finance stands for openness to innovation. We are, therefore, extremely pleased about our membership and future cooperation with an excellent network within the financial industry. Frankfurt has not only established itself as the leading financial centre in Germany through the strong concentration of financial firms, but is also one of the most important financial centres in the world. We will endeavour to make the best possible use of the resulting synergies with Frankfurt Main Finance and the other members, so that Frankfurt can continue to consolidate its pole position in the financial market. In line with our strategy, we also look forward to the collaboration and contact with one of the most progressive international FinTech hubs,” comments Christian Bock, Managing Director of CRIF Bürgel.
“As Germany’s leading financial centre, Frankfurt is one of Deloitte’s largest and most important locations. The membership in Frankfurt Main Finance fills us with eager anticipation of a noticeable deepening in our relationships with all actors in the financial metropolis. We are certain that our work can provide the Frankfurt community not only with many important stimuli, as it has in the past, but also with many benefits,” says Prof. Dr. Carl-Friedrich Leuschner, Deloitte auditor and partner. Head of Banking Practice at Deloitte Hans-Jürgen Walter adds, “Deloitte has supported the development of the Financial Centre Frankfurt in the competition between European and global financial centres for many years. In addition to the European Competence Centre for the Banking Union, Deloitte is also active in a number of initiatives with banks, associations, universities and politics with the goal of strengthening Germany’s most important financial centre. Membership in Frankfurt Main Finance is an additional resolute and active step in this direction, which includes, in particular, the further development of Frankfurt as an attractive location for the start-up and FinTech community.”
Dr. Christian Thun, Managing Director of European DataWarehouse, emphasises his excitement at the prospect of working with Frankfurt’s financial centre initiative. “We see our membership in Frankfurt Main Finance as a commitment to the Financial Centre Frankfurt, to which we owe a great deal and whose development we aim to pursue and actively shape with the keenest interest. Frankfurt Main Finance provides us with the requisite platform to do this, and we look forward to the exchange with the fellow members and market participants.”
Frankfurt am Main – Frankfurt Main Finance (FMF) and the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) agreed on closer cooperation between the two Financial Centres in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), signed on November 4th, 2019.
Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer of the DIFC, and Hubertus Väth, Managing Director of FMF, signed the MoU at the DIFC in the presence of German Consul General Holger Mahnicke and Yusef Ahmed, Managing Director of Frankfurt International Consulting.
Hubertus Väth is currently visiting the Middle East alongside a delegation from Frankfurt conducting a roadshow, as part of which the representatives participated in a DIFC panel discussion on “The European financial landscape after Brexit and Germany’s increasing role”.
“I would like to thank Arif Amiri, the German Consul General Holger Mahnicke and the team of the Frankfurt delegation for this important step. The agreement with the DIFC will enable us to work together more closely and to intensify knowledge sharing”.
In the upcoming weeks and months, Frankfurt and Dubai will put their joint plans into action and will thus be making a contribution towards strengthening their respective Financial Centres.
The Financial Centre Initiative Frankfurt Main Finance e. V. welcomes four new members, growing its ranks to 69. KPMG AG Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft, Quirin Privatbank AG and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) join the initiative as sustaining members and Frankfurt Solutions as a Fintech member.
Through their membership, the representatives from academia, the financial industry, public administration, and the up-and-coming FinTech sector express their solidarity with the Financial Centre, take up current topics of the finance sector and demonstrate their commitment to the growing domestic and international importance of the Financial Centre Frankfurt and the Rhine-Main region.
“In times when there is considerable uncertainty in many areas, it is all the more important to combine the various strengths of the financial industry, to actively shape the future of the Financial Centre in concert, and to grow and flourish together. With the support of our longstanding and new members and thanks to our steadily growing industry network, we can jointly develop coordinated approaches to resolve the issues of the future,” insists Dr. Lutz Raettig, President of Frankfurt Main Finance.
Sven-Olaf Leitz, Member of the Board at KPMG Germany with responsibility for Financial Services, is delighted that KPMG has joined Frankfurt Main Finance. “A financial sector has grown up in ‘Mainhattan’ that enjoys an excellent reputation across the world. It is therefore not surprising that the Squaire building at Frankfurt Airport houses the largest of the more than 20 branch offices we maintain in Germany. This underlines the importance of the Financial Centre Frankfurt for us in our activities as one of the largest consulting and auditing companies. We value the close proximity to a wide range of financial actors and market players and appreciate the intensive exchange between the domains of academia, science and business practice that the Main metropolis offers. As a result, the Financial Centre is constantly evolving, and we are pleased to be able to make a further contribution to this development by becoming a member of Frankfurt Main Finance e.V.”
Holger Clemens Hinz, Managing Director in the capital market business of Quirin Privatbank AG, explains, “We are happy to be a member of Frankfurt Main Finance with immediate effect, as this gives us the opportunity to actively shape the future of the Financial Centre Frankfurt together with the other partners and the financial community. As a result, we can participate as a financial institution not only in the orientation of the operational banking business in Frankfurt, but we can also inform important strategic decisions made by politicians and the city government. This is something we see as highly valuable, just as we also value the exchange that is possible with universities.”
David Kleinz, founder of Frankfurt Solutions, points out, “Just as the name Frankfurt Solutions signals a commitment to the location of Frankfurt, so does our membership in Frankfurt Main Finance. With active involvement and the fertile exchange of views and ideas, we would like to become a strong link in this network and consolidate and benefit from the promising developments in the heart of Europe. We look forward to creating new ideas, events, contacts and joint projects with the other members.”
With the leading investor award for start-ups, the Financial Centre Frankfurt honours outstanding FinTech companies in six different categories. The jury’s vote went to AUTHADA GmbH in the Seed/Early Stage category and to Barzahlen – Cash Payment Solutions GmbH in the Late Stage Category, while solarisBank AG received the prize for the best FinTech in the Growth Stage category. TransferWise Ltd. was voted the Best Foreign FinTech on the German market. The special prize for the best PropTech was awarded to Exporo AG, while Wefox Germany GmbH was honoured in the special InsurTech category.
The organisers, Börsen-Zeitung (WM Group), Business Angels Frankfurt RheinMain, Frankfurt Main Finance and TechFluence, have now presented the FinTechGermany Award to high-potential FinTech companies for the fifth time. “Our ‘Golden Garage’ award offers young entrepreneurs, in particular, the opportunity to enter into dialogue with FinTech insiders and financial centre representatives and expand their network. We are pleased to be able to offer this platform for the fifth time,” says Dr. Jens Zinke, Managing Director of the Börsen-Zeitung. Andreas Lukic, Chairman of Business Angels Frankfurt RheinMain comments: “We award the prize to the best FinTech, InsurTech and PropTech companies, whose innovative business models and new technologies create value and transform the financial sector. At the same time, the Financial Centre Frankfurt offers the entire financing chain for start-ups – from their foundation and time of growth until they become established.” Hubertus Väth, Managing Director of Frankfurt Main Finance says: “Cooperation between FinTechs and the established players in the financial centre is the key to future success. The FinTechGermany Award creates the platform to make this possible.” And Michael Mellinghoff, Managing Director at TechFluence UK, adds: “In awarding this prize, we above all support start-ups with promising FinTech concepts, while at the same time increasing their visibility on the German market.”
The focus of the sixteen-strong jury was on the companies’ financial viability, scalability and exit capability. Among other things, they evaluated the business concept, competitive advantages, positioning, financial plan and management. The “Seed/Early Stage” category comprises FinTechs with no or only initial revenues, and with no or only a basic prototype. Companies with at least cumulative six-digit revenues were able to apply for the “Late Stage” category. The prerequisites for an award in the “Growth Stage” category were a more than seven-digit turnover and international expansion. Günter Rothenberger, the founder of Günter Rothenberger Industries GmbH and inventor of the R-System, donated the six perpetual trophies in the form of gold-plated water pump pliers mounted on American oak.
Andreas Plies, managing director of AUTHADA GmbH, stated: “The prize is not just for us alone, but for the entire company. It’s nice to have your work recognised.” Ulrike Czekay, Head of PR & Marketing at Barzahlen – Cash Payment Solution GmbH, aims to begin with the payment infrastructure and “dispel customers’ fear of digitisation and offer new possibilities.” Jörg Diewald, Chief Commercial Officer at solarisBank AG, announced, “Our Sales division is growing, and we are desperately looking for new employees to meet our customer needs.” Thomas Adamski, European PR Manager at TransferWise Ltd, was delighted with his trophy, “Our foremost concern is to help people and enable them to drastically reduce the cost of foreign bank transfers. Especially in such a large and active market as FinTech, I am immensely grateful that the scene is very open to new alternatives. I am delighted to be here and get to know all the nice people from the different areas.” Botho von Hülsen, Senior Manager at Exporo AG, commented that “A lot of construction is taking place in Germany, and fund packages can also be purchased from us in the form of products consisting of existing properties. Our digitalisation rollout is initially planned for France and the Netherlands, as the economic performance of these countries can be easily assessed.” John Shewell, Head of Group Marketing & Communications at Wefox Germany GmbH, felt honoured by the golden garage trophy and expressed that “It is a privilege to be here tonight. At the same time, it is also an honour for all tech start-ups to have the opportunity to transform the financial industry. We want to make insurance easy and convenient for our customers.”
Frankfurt am Main – The Financial Centre Initiative Frankfurt Main Finance e. V. welcomes five new members, growing its ranks to 64. Bloomberg L.P., Consileon Business Consultancy GmbH, Moody´s Deutschland GmbH, Refinitiv and Schalast & Partner Rechtsanwälte mbB join the initiative as sustaining members.
Through their membership, the representatives from academia, the financial industry, public administration and the up-and-coming FinTech sector express their solidarity with the Financial Centre, take up current topics of the finance sector and demonstrate their commitment to the growing domestic and international importance of the Financial Centre Frankfurt and the Rhine-Main region.
“We warmly welcome our new members and their commitment to the Financial Centre Frankfurt. With each new member, the affiliation with Frankfurt Main Finance becomes more attractive for existing members as well, and the voice of the Financial Centre gains significance,” says Dr. Lutz Raettig, President of Frankfurt Main Finance. “Through our growth, we can offer a diverse industry network, the efficiency of which also benefits the Financial Centre. The steady growth is a recognition of our daily efforts to represent and position the Financial Centre around the world.”
New member Bloomberg L.P. is the world’s leading provider of financial information and financial news. “Frankfurt is our largest location in continental Europe. Membership of Frankfurt Main Finance expresses our commitment to this important and growing Financial Centre, and we look forward to the collaboration with the other members of the initiative. As a global company with 176 locations around the world, we are particularly keen to contribute to furthering Frankfurt’s international network,” says Friederike von Tiesenhausen, Head of External Relations DACH Bloomberg L.P.
Dr. Joachim Schü, Managing Partner of Consileon Business Consultancy GmbH, said concerning his company’s accession to Frankfurt Main Finance e.V.: “Especially with the successive decline of London’s importance as a Financial Centre due to Brexit, Frankfurt’s importance as a strong economic area and centre of European monetary policy is increasing considerably. By becoming a member of Frankfurt Main Finance e.V., we are clearly committed to Frankfurt as a business location, which is underscored by the recent relocation of our Frankfurt office to the heart of the city. We hope to contribute all our finance sector expertise to the association and are looking forward to the exchange with other members and stakeholders.” With Consileon Frankfurt GmbH and syracom AG, the Consileon Group bundles considerable expertise to advise banks, insurance companies, FinTechs and other financial service providers.
Carl-Johan von Uexküll, Managing Director Germany & Switzerland at Refinitiv, confirms: “With our membership in Frankfurt Main Finance, we are demonstrating our confidence in the Financial Centre Frankfurt. At the same time, we want to actively contribute to the positive development of the city and we look forward to the exchange with all other financial market actors in Frankfurt and the Rhine-Main region with optimism and enthusiasm.”
Dr. Andreas Walter, Partner and Head of Banking & Finance at Schalast, says, “We see ourselves as a deeply rooted part of the culture of the city of Frankfurt am Main, the most important continental European Financial Centre. Against this backdrop, we are particularly happy and proud that, in addition to advising numerous companies already based in Frankfurt, we have been able to support many foreign companies in the financial industry in opening and establishing their German or European headquarters in Frankfurt. Precisely because banking supervisory issues are, from a legal perspective, coming increasingly to the forefront and FinTech companies from all over the world are interested in Frankfurt, we are all the more pleased to become a formal part of Frankfurt Main Finance.”
At the beginning of the year, we welcomed King’s College – The British School of Frankfurt as one of our newest Frankfurt Main Finance members. In an interview with Headteacher Kirsty Sharp, we discuss why they joined the Financial Centre Initiative and where she sees the strengths of the Financial Centre Frankfurt.
Why join FMF as a supporter of the Financial Centre Frankfurt?
King’s College – The British School of Frankfurt was opened as the 10th school of the King’s Group in August 2018 in Friedrichsdorf, 20 km north of downtown. Our schools have historically worked closely with international companies, diplomatic missions and institutions to learn more about educational needs locally. Across its schools, the King’s Group currently has students from more than 80 nations, providing us with a wealth of experience in teaching students from different cultures and backgrounds. Relative to the forthcoming Brexit, as a member of FMF we would offer support to families interested in British curriculum arriving new to the region.
How does Kings College contribute to the development of the Financial Centre Frankfurt?
A British school is present in most major cities and is an integral part of an international educational culture. A wide range of internationally oriented schools is vital to the attractiveness of a metropolis in providing a convincing infrastructure for global companies, their employees and families. With King’s College Frankfurt, the city now offers a British school of international renown, with sufficient capacity for up to 600 students in a state-of-the-art campus easily accessible to the Financial Centre and residential areas.
Where do you see the strengths of the Financial Centre?
Frankfurt – a strong economic area and centre of European monetary policy – is a very attractive location for international companies, especially banks. Due to the international airport, its geographical location as the cosmopolitan heart of Europe and the close-to-nature surroundings, Frankfurt has great potential for many major companies.
As a Spanish/British company recently established in Germany, the King’s Group finds the often cited ‘German thoroughness’ and interaction with public, fiscal and infrastructural official facilities very positive, transparent, and requirements are easy and quick to implement. We have received excellent support from many sources in all areas, so that in a very short time, our institution and all employees here in the Frankfurt Rhine-Main region feel welcome and as part of the community
An exciting game, an impressive choreography, rousing atmosphere and great conversations. Frankfurt Main Finance and Eintracht Frankfurt invited Brexit newcomers for football in the heart of Europe: an event with the aim not only to introduce the newcomers to the financial centre community, but also to convey a piece of Frankfurt’s attitude to life, to demonstrate the city’s pragmatic approach, its willingness and its ability to perform.
The first leg of the UEFA Europa League round of sixteen brought Eintracht against Inter Milan for an exciting 90 minutes. The Frankfurt side was particularly convincing in the second half, with several close chances to take the lead. The exciting atmosphere was certainly not reserved to just the pitch or the singing choral of fans packed into Commerzbank Arena’s northwest curve, but soon also overtook the newcomers at the event, which was held in the arena’s Business Club for the second time in this format.
The first edition of the event, held in November 2018 when Eintracht faced off against Marseille, was a complete success – on and off the pitch. Therefore, the sponsors for the second event quick to find. The second round featured many of the same as the first, which shows how well the format was received. Frankfurt Main Finance and Eintracht Frankfurt would like to thank Deutsche Börse AG, White & Case LLP and Drooms GmbH and Meltwater Deutschland for their commitment and support in making this event possible.
“Predominantly rational reasons have persuaded companies to relocate to the Main Metropolis. As an Eintracht family, we try to bring the people behind these institutions together and to inspire enthusiasm for our region. The electric atmosphere in the stadium is exactly the right backdrop for this. This turns the head’s decision into the heart’s decision for Frankfurt. Because Eintracht Frankfurt plays in the heart of Europe,” says Axel Hellmann, member of the board of Eintracht Frankfurt Fußball AG.
Hubertus Väth, Managing Director of Frankfurt Main Finance and himself a lifelong member of Eintracht said, “Football and the Financial Centre Frankfurt belong close together. We want to show how easy it is to arrive in Frankfurt and belong to it. Frankfurt is cosmopolitan. It is the city of short distances, communicative and full of joie de vivre.”
Frankfurt Main Finance (FMF) continues to grow! In an interview, information service & technology provider Wolter Kluwers | CCH® Tagetik, one of FMF’s newest members, explains why they joined the Financial Centre Initiative at the beginning of the year and where it sees the strengths of the Financial Centre Frankfurt.
Why do your company support the Financial Centre Frankfurt as a member of FMF?
The Financial Centre Frankfurt is of great importance to our clients; thus, we would like to promote it in the best possible way in line with our clients’ interests. We see this as a win-win situation for both sides: On one hand we support the Financial Centre Frankfurt with our expert knowledge and at the same time make our brand better known in the Frankfurt area.
Active participation in Frankfurt Main Finance also puts us in a position to maintain even closer and more sustainable partnerships with other partners in Frankfurt and to exchange information on opportunities and challenges in the Financial Centre.
How does your company contribute to the development of the Financial Centre Frankfurt?
By actively participating as an IT solutions provider in FMF, we would like to make our diverse process and digitisation knowledge in the financial sector available to companies in and around Frankfurt. We also believe that through our complementary network, we can provide great additional value for the FMF community, from which all members will benefit, and the Financial Centre Frankfurt will be supported.
Where do you see the strengths of the Financial Centre Frankfurt? What can be improved?
The importance of the location for financial institutions and their extended ecosystem is beyond question, Frankfurt is a world-renowned Financial Centre. The cultural diversity is strong, but its degree of popularity can be expanded across countries. The Financial Centre Frankfurt is already an emerging digital hub, which can boast many well-known – especially medium-sized – IT companies. As an IT company, however, we still see potential to make this aspect even more visible to and for the city and region.