CFS survey: Financial industry believes bubbles are likely to form on the European financial markets

Financial industry believes bubbles are likely to form on the European financial markets due to QE measures and the ECB’s zero interest rate policy. Rapid departure from expansive monetary policy is favored, yet not expected. This is cause for alarm.

According to a recent survey by the Center for Financial Studies, there is firm agreement within the German financial industry (92%) that bubbles have formed or will form on the European financial markets (e.g. stock markets, real estate markets) due to the ECB’s expansive monetary policy if this strategy is maintained.

Since 2015 the European Central Bank (ECB) has pursued a policy of quantitative easing (QE). In addition, the key interest rate of the eurozone, which is the main refinancing rate paid by banks when they borrow from the ECB, has been kept at zero since March 2016. Aside from the feared negative impacts, opinions in the financial industry are split as to whether these measures have brought about the desired results in terms of increasing the rate of inflation and boosting economic growth. Half the survey respondents (49%) regard the ECB’s expansive monetary policy as partially effective, whereas 38% believe the stated goals have not been reached. Just 12% of the respondents regard the expansive monetary policy as clearly effective.

“The survey illustrates the scepticism of market participants about the effectiveness of the ECB’s monetary policy strategy. In particular, the ECB should take the concern about bubbles forming in particular asset classes very seriously,” Professor Volker Brühl, Managing Director of the Center for Financial Studies, interprets the survey results. “A further cause for alarm is the prevailing opinion of market participants that a departure from the expansive monetary policy is called for, yet not expected. This could mean the markets will be caught wrong-footed if the ECB, contrary to market expectations, does initiate a change of direction. It is crucial that the ECB communicates its intentions clearly and in good time,” Professor Brühl adds.

On 26 October 2017 Mario Draghi will announce the next key interest rate decision that will determine the future direction of ECB monetary policy for 2018. The majority of the financial industry (78%) favors a decision to rapidly depart from the expansive monetary policy (by Q1 2018 at the latest). However, hardly any of the respondents (2%) anticipate this outcome.

“The disparity between the desire for an exit from the expansive monetary policy and the low expectation that this wish will be fulfilled is, in itself, a clear warning signal. Real market prices have now been lacking for a considerable period of time,” says Dr. Lutz Raettig, Executive Chairman of Frankfurt Main Finance e.V., commenting on the survey results.

FinTech location Germany set for growth

Germany’s segment of emerging technology companies operating in the financial services sector (FinTech) is increasingly successful in establishing itself as a dynamic and diversified cluster on its own steam. This is one of the key findings of the recent study “Germany FinTech Landscape” carried out by auditing and consultancy company EY which, together with Frankfurt Main Finance, analysed the German FinTech sector and outlined additional opportunities for its promotion. According to the study, there is a clearly discernible trend among financial institutions to respond more vigorously to the challenge posed by the products and services offered by FinTech companies. The majority of the ten biggest banks are today investing in and/or cooperating with FinTechs. The study also shows that the business models of the FinTechs are becoming more mature, and that the companies are entering the next development phase, e.g., through cooperative ventures with each other, in order to strengthen their market position sustainably.

In the first half of the year, the number of FinTech companies in Germany rose by five per cent year-on-year to 295 (2016: 280). The inflow of capital had already reached 307 million euros in the first half of the year, whereas the FinTech companies in Germany collected 400 million euros for the full year 2016. The number of deals also went up, as did the average size of the deals, rising slightly from 7 million to 7.3 million euros.

While absolute growth rates may have levelled off slightly, consistent positive momentum persists for all key metrics. This showed that the FinTech landscape in Germany continued to be on an encouraging path, said Jan-Erik Behrens, co-author and partner at EY: “The trend we are observing here in Germany is headed for another record year, and it impressively demonstrates the innovative power of Germany as a location, with differing regional strengths.”

FinTech sector shifts focus, with business models gaining maturity

The German FinTechs are increasingly moving in on the core functions of the financial services providers. This applies, for example, to payment systems via the Internet or mobile devices (Payments), loans (Lending), but also to offerings for the property sector (PropTech), the insurance industry (InsurTech), the investment sector (InvesTech) and electronic marketplaces (Financial eMarketplaces & Aggregators). Approximately 67 per cent of the new FinTechs come from these core segments, 33 percent are start-ups in the field of Enabling FinTechs, which includes financial and process control software (Processes & Technology), financial data analysis and regulatory management services (RegTech).

The study reveals that there has been a shift in FinTech activities. The segments that had been strong growth drivers in recent years were InvesTech, Financing & Funding and InsurTech. In the first half of 2017, however, there was a very high level of activity in the PropTech area, which is probably due in part to the robust real estate market in Germany, as the study assumes.

Berlin and Rhine-Main-Neckar are the leading FinTech locations in Germany

The regions of Berlin and Rhine-Main-Neckar in particular are consolidating their status as FinTech hotspots within Germany: Berlin currently boasts 80 FinTech companies, while 72 corporations are active in the Rhine-Main-Neckar region. Munich, the third-ranked FinTech location in Germany, is a distant third, with 45 FinTechs based in the Bavarian capital.

The study confirms that the Rhine-Main-Neckar region, led by Frankfurt, is making significant progress towards establishing itself as the leading destination for settlement of FinTechs. The study identifies the special strengths of the Rhine-Main-Neckar region as being events & networks, as well as in infrastructure. Numerous incubators, accelerators, investor meetings and networking initiatives have been initiated and launched successfully. However, the region still has further potential for growth in terms of image and financing opportunities. “International investors continue to focus on London or Berlin,” Behrens notes. “For this reason, the FinTech community needs to work on its international visibility, so as to attract foreign investors as well.”

Amongst the trends that will influence the development of FinTech in the future, the study suggests that Brexit –the UK’s exit from the European Union (EU) –is likely to enhance the appeal of GermanFinTech centres. Like many financial institutions that have already decided to relocate business units from London to the EU, and especially to Frankfurt, FinTech companies are likely to follow suit.

“Frankfurt’s strong appeal to banks makes the region even more interesting for FinTechs,” says Hubertus Väth, managing director of Frankfurt Main Finance. “The EU’s leading financial centre is well placed to attract FinTechs and become a leading location for young, innovative and agile companies. It is a matter of further enhancing the location’s appeal to FinTechs. Frankfurt and the Rhine-Main-Neckar region are facing global competition, and for the foreseeable future London is likely to remain the benchmark in Europe against which company founders will judge us. In particular, we still need to improve in terms of our openness to cooperation with company founders, the social acceptance of failure and subsequent new starts, and the tax treatment of venture capital losses sustained.”

Financial institutions becoming increasingly active in the FinTech segment

The growing presence of FinTechs in the financial sector has prompted banks and other financial institutions to launch various initiatives in an effort to respond to the challenge posed by FinTechs. Nine of the ten largest banks in Germany have already entered into co-operative ventures with FinTech companies; some of them have invested in FinTechs themselves, such as Commerzbank via its investment vehicles Commerz Ventures and Mainincubator, or Deutsche Börse via db1 Ventures. “The banks are closely monitoring the FinTech companies and their solutions – they cooperate with the start-ups and in some cases invest in them directly. However, they still have some catching up to do in the development of their own innovative solutions and products,” observes Christopher Schmitz, co-author and partner at EY. The banks’ current initiatives are still isolated and largely uncoordinated responses to the FinTech challenge. An extensive range of services on a digital platform, where both own products and those of external service providers are offered, would be an appropriate response to FinTechs – banks are working on it, but as yet there has been little by way of tangible added value for customers.” Such digital ecosystems could also be created in co-operation with FinTechs. The DZ BANK Group’s travel bank, with its Bankomo Smartphone Banking product, is in the process of establishing such an ecosystem.

FinTechs cooperating with FinTechs

While financial institutions are still busy working on finding an appropriate response to the FinTech challenge, more and more FinTechs are expanding outside their core market segment, Schmitz observes. In doing so, they are increasingly relying on partnerships with other FinTechs. It is also noteworthy that the more mature FinTechs are already attempting to build their own ecosystems around their core product portfolios. This can be clearly seen in examples such as N26, which have rapidly expanded their range of services by co-operating with other FinTechs. The PSD2, which will be establishing access for third parties to payment accounts from 2018 onwards, in combination with the expected further opening-up within the framework of “open banking” efforts, is paving the way for the digital platform economy in the financial services sector. Competition with established financial institutions will therefore intensify, according to Christopher Schmitz: “Financial institutions should now consider strategies that will be appropriate to the competitive environment and establish their digital ecosystems with recognisable added value for customers, in cooperation with innovative players.”

The study is available as a pdf document here.

Rational implementation of the central EBA award criteria supports relocation to Frankfurt

Frankfurt am Main – The European Commission published its assessment of the applications for the seat of the European Banking Authority (EBA). As a result of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU), the EBA must move its seat from London to an EU country. In addition to Frankfurt, seven other cities submitted applications for the EBA. Frankfurt Main Finance welcomes this commendably transparent application process. The EU Commission documents can be found here.

The financial center initiative Frankfurt Main Finance (FMF) believes there are substantial grounds for relocating the EBA in the Financial Centre Frankfurt. “When discussing settling EBA in London, two main arguments stood out. First, that London was one of the leading financial centres. Secondly, London could point to its regulatory competencies. These arguments hold for Frankfurt more than any other city within the EU. This is also confirmed by the majority of banks’ decisions to move to Frankfurt,” says Hubertus Väth, Managing Director of Frankfurt Main Finance.

“As the home of the European Central Bank (ECB), the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA), and the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB), the Financial Centre Frankfurt is already the capital of European financial market supervision. Settling the EBA in a location other than Frankfurt would impose needless fragmentation on this unique ecosystem rather than strengthening it. As a direct consequence, this would also impose additional expenses on the banks, already suffering from the costs of Brexit,” Väth continued. “From our point of view, any rational implementation of the award criteria can only speak for relocating the EBA to Frankfurt.”

Contact Person for Media Inquiries:
Dr. Ralf Witzler
Frankfurt Main Finance e.V.
COLOSSEO
Walther-von-Cronberg-Platz 16
60594 Frankfurt am Main

Telephone 069 94 41 80 – 50
Telefax 069 94 41 80 90
ralf.witzler@fmfinance.de

Frankfurt Main Finance
Frankfurt Main Finance is the voice of the leading financial centre in Germany and the euro zone, Frankfurt am Main. The initiative has more than 40 members including the State of Hesse, the cities of Frankfurt and Eschborn, and dozens of prominent actors in the finance sector. Through their membership and engagement, they all demonstrate their close relationship to Frankfurt and desire to position Frankfurt amongst the top national and international financial centres. Frankfurt Main Finance leverages the influence of its members to advocate for the Financial Centre Frankfurt and provide high-caliber dialogue platforms. For more about Frankfurt Main Finance and its members, please visit www.frankfurt-main-finance.com.

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FMF welcomes appointment of Theo Waigel as special officer in the bid to relocate EBA to Frankfurt

Theo Waigel, former German federal finance minister, has assumed the position of special officer to handle the application submitted by the German federal government and the state government of Hesse in support of relocating the European Banking Authority (EBA) to Frankfurt. This was announced on Friday by Volker Bouffier, the prime minister of the State of Hesse. Currently domiciled in London, the EBA will have to be relocated to another member country of the European Union (EU) once the United Kingdom leaves the EU. Other EU countries alongside Germany would also like to secure the EBA. A decision on the authority’s future post-Brexit domicile is expected to be made in November 2017.

The financial centre initiative for Frankfurt am Main, Frankfurt Main Finance (FMF), expressly welcomes the appointment of Theo Waigel as special officer. “We are thrilled by this decision as it marks a clear commitment on the part of the German federal government. The attempts to base the EBA in Germany have received substantial support with this appointment. The former German federal finance minister possesses expertise, influence and diplomatic prowess. The decision to appoint Theo Waigel was a smart move,” says FMF managing director Hubertus Väth. “Theo Waigel enjoys great credibility and is passionately pro-European. He has close ties to Frankfurt not least of all thanks to his participation in the Frankfurt Finance Summit and a publication in the city’s year book. Together with Helmut Kohl, he was instrumental in launching the Euro.”

Brexit bankers bring more welfare effects to Financial Centre Frankfurt and the region than just their jobs

New jobs in the banking sector – this is the expected result of relocations from London to Frankfurt. Well-founded estimates speak of ten thousand additional jobs within the next four years. The overall increase in job growth associated with Brexit is significantly higher because multiplier effects cause growth in other industries as well, according to the findings of an academic study conducted by WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management on behalf of Frankfurt Main Finance.

“We investigated the effects of the relocation of banking jobs as a result of Brexit on the entire labour market for the city of Frankfurt, the neighbouring cities and the Rhine-Main area,” says Prof. Dr. Lutz Johanning, one author of the study. “Our study shows that the multiplier effect is between 2.1 and 8.8, depending on the area examined. If we consider adding 10,000 new jobs in the banking industry over the next four years, then, according to our prudent estimate, an additional 21,000 jobs could be created in Frankfurt City. In the optimistic case, this could result in up to an additional 88,000 new jobs in the Rhine-Main region.”

Moritz C. Noll, co-author of the study, says, “With our models, we demonstrate that the long-term growth trajectory is changed by an initial shock, in other words, the additional jobs in the finance sector due to Brexit. Thus, we argue that the growth effects on the labour market can be significantly higher than the initial effects suggest. There’s still room for further gains.”

Hubertus Väth, Managing Director of Frankfurt Main Finance, says, “The job growth will further advance the economic strength of Frankfurt and the region. A real success story for all parties involved. Now, it is important to absorb and shape this growth positively. That is a challenge. However, the additional jobs also bring the funds to invest and master the challenge.”

Based on the assumption that 10,000 financial sector jobs will relocate to Frankfurt due to Brexit, this also results in additional tax revenues for the city of Frankfurt. In the conservative scenario, the net gain from income, value-added and local business taxes is around 136 million euros per year, while the optimistic scenario would yield nearly 192 million euros.

Winning Frankfurt: Brexit Bankers’ Welfare Effect Beyond Bringing Their Jobs

Frankfurt Main Finance supports Federal Ministry of Finance’s Bid to host EBA in Frankfurt

Today, the German Federal Ministry of Finance submitted their bid to host the European Banking Authority (EBA) in the Financial Centre Frankfurt. Currently located in London, EBA must find a new home as a result of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union. Applications to host the agency were due to the European Commission on 31 July 2017. The final decision is expected in November 2017.

Frankfurt Main Finance supports the Federal Ministry of Finance’s bid to host EBA in the Financial Centre Frankfurt. “We commend the Ministry on submitting a strong application. Frankfurt is home to three of the five pillars of an integrated European financial supervisory system. To relocate EBA to Frankfurt would be the logical next step and in line with an earlier recommendation by MEPs,” explains Hubertus Väth, Managing Director of Frankfurt Main Finance. In addition to hosting the European Central Bank (ECB), European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA), and the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB), Frankfurt is also home the Deutsche Bundesbank, the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) and Federal Agency for Financial Market Stabilisation (FSMA).

The Financial Centre Frankfurt is in the pole position to win banking business from London following the results of the UK’s referendum. Several banks have announced their intentions to establish or expand operations in Frankfurt as a result of Brexit, including Silicon Valley Bank, Standard Chartered, Daiwa, Nomura, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, Mizuho, Goldman Sachs, Citibank, JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank. “The banks have voted with their feet for Frankfurt, now it’s on Europe to vote for financial stability and for Frankfurt,” explains Väth. Frankfurt Main Finance expects at least 12 and possibly as many as 20 banks to announce their decision for a location in Frankfurt in 2017.

Noted for its strong economic and political stability, Frankfurt and the region offer a top infrastructure, competitively priced and plentiful modern office space, a deep talent pool and an extremely high quality of life. Financial services moving to Frankfurt will find a competent, helpful and welcoming regulator in BaFin, who will accept large portions of applications in English. The Financial Centre is already home to more than 150 foreign banks and 75,000 people employed in financial services.

Frankfurt becomes destination for international job seekers – HR consultants signal a clear spike in interest

Brexit is gaining momentum. Coinciding with the first official announcements from financial institutions moving business units from the Thames to the Main, movement is being observed in the labor market. “We are currently experiencing an unprecedented onslaught of unsolicited applications from London for the offices in Frankfurt,” said Christopher Schmitz, Partner, EY EMEIA Financial Services. “This is true for both internal applications from consultants from within the company, but also for external applicants, especially by people of Indian origin. The interest in Frankfurt is great.”

Dr. Rolf E. Stokburger, Managing Partner at Boyden, a global HR consultancy specializing in management, made a similar observation, “Senior bankers are among the more proactive applicants. They are eager to be part of the success story in Frankfurt and leverage the opportunities of early entry.”

Thomas Deininger, Managing Director of Deininger Consulting, a global consultancy headquartered in Frankfurt with offices in London, Dehli, Mumbai and Pune, amongst others, says, “London’s banks are behaving increasingly hesitant. Our contracts there have reduced dramatically and recruiting has declined by 30 to 50 percent. On the other hand, we have increased interest in Frankfurt. The number of unsolicited CVs has certainly increased by 20 percent. There are a lot of actors in the financial sector currently taking part in exploratory talks with us.”

“We are currently experiencing the early phases of an evolving, radical shift in Frankfurt’s labor market,” says Hubertus Väth, Managing Director of Frankfurt Main Finance. “Banks are now discussing with their teams how they implement relocations to Frankfurt,” Väth continued. “These decisions will be made well in advance and require months of preparations. This affects not only the employees, but also their families.”

The great interest in the Financial Centre Frankfurt from India is remarkable, but not surprising. According to data from the City of Frankfurt, the Indian community in the Rhine-Main region is by far the largest in Germany and the Orbis database shows more than 130 Indian companies in the region in 2017. It is the preferred investment destination for India within the Schengen zone. And not least, more than 40 Indian IT companies, 9 of the top 20 Indian IT companies, are based here.

“In our offices in Delhi, Mumbai and Pune, interest in working in Frankfurt is also increasing,” says Thomas Deininger. “The 2016 Global Innovation Index sees Frankfurt as a leading German innovation cluster at number 12 in the world, ahead of London (21) and Berlin (30). Frankfurt is a particularly attractive location for innovative companies,” adds Hubertus Väth.

Mizuho is fourth Japanese bank to confirm move to Frankfurt

The Japanese investment bank Mizuho Securities Co. Ltd., a core group company of Mizuho Financial Group, Inc., announced today that it has begun procedures to apply for a license to further expand its presence in the Financial Centre Frankfurt. In addition to Daiwa, Nomura, and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, a fourth major Japanese bank has now decided to establish a hub in Frankfurt am Main.

“Frankfurt e yokoso, welcome to Frankfurt Mizuho! We see Mizuho’s decision as another show of trust in the Financial Centre Frankfurt, for which we are most grateful,” says Hubertus Väth, Managing Director of Frankfurt Main Finance. “Overall, Frankfurt’s many advantages create a convincing package. Now, four of the five leading Japanese banks and securities corporations have chosen Frankfurt for their European hubs after an extensive and thorough due diligence process. We look forward to supporting them in establishing their operations in any way possible.”

Väth futher explains that “the banks’ decisions to move their business from the Themes to the Main over the past few weeks, strengthen Frankfurt’s position as a significant financial centre, not only in Europe, but globally as well.” Frankfurt Main Finance expects at least twelve banks to announce their decision to relocate to the Financial Centre Frankfurt this year. “We are one step closer to our ambitious objective of having twenty banks placing their trust in the Financial Centre Frankfurt this year. The past weeks should alleviate any doubts concerning Frankfurt’s attractiveness to the world’s major investment banks,” says Väth.

The Financial Centre Frankfurt is in the pole position to win banking business from London following the results of the UK’s referendum. Noted for its strong economic and political stability, Frankfurt and the region offer a top infrastructure, competitively priced and plentiful modern office space, a deep talent pool and an extremely high quality of life. Financial services moving to Frankfurt will find a competent, helpful and welcoming regulator in BaFin, who will accept large portions of applications in English. The Financial Centre is already home to more than 150 foreign banks and 75,000 people employed in financial services.

The press release of Mizuho Financial Group.

 

the Financial Centre Frankfurt

Citigroup Leads Wave of American Banks Choosing the Financial Centre Frankfurt

American investment bank Citigroup is set to expand their operations in the Financial Centre Frankfurt as a result of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. Initial reports indicate the investment bank will relocate several hundred sales and trading jobs to Frankfurt.

Frankfurt Main Finance (FMF) welcomes the news and is proud that Citigroup, one of the so called big five, has chosen to expand operations in the Financial Centre Frankfurt. Commenting on the news, FMF Managing Director Hubertus Väth said, “It is great news for the Financial Centre Frankfurt and we look forward to welcoming our new colleagues. Citi’s decision supports our estimates of an additional 1,000 jobs moving to the Financial Centre Frankfurt this year and 10,000 jobs coming in the next five years. The reported decision by Citi also reaffirms our confidence that at least twelve banks and perhaps as many as twenty will decide for Frankfurt this year.”

For the past year, the Financial Centre Frankfurt has been in concrete discussions with nearly twenty banks interested in moving operations to Frankfurt. “Last week, Jamie Dimon announced in Paris that JP Morgan will use Frankfurt as their legal base. This was a strong, first signal from the US banks. Following last week’s submissions to the Bank of England, we expect to see the next wave of announcements coming very soon,” Väth explains.

The Financial Centre Frankfurt is in the pole position to win banking business from London following the results of the UK’s referendum. Noted for its strong economic and political stability, Frankfurt and the region offer a top infrastructure, competitively priced and plentiful modern office space, a deep talent pool and an extremely high quality of life. Financial services moving to Frankfurt will find a competent, helpful and welcoming regulator in BaFin, who will accept large portions of applications in English. The Financial Centre is already home to more than 150 foreign banks and 75,000 people employed in financial services.

Euro Clearing

Joint Declaration of Frankfurt Main Finance and Paris EUROPLACE on Euro Clearing

The United Kingdom is leaving the European Union and will in all likelihood lose access to the common market. In light of this, Frankfurt Main Finance and Paris EUROPLACE jointly request the concerned European authorities to consider some fundamental principles regarding future oversight of Euro Clearing:

  1. Central counterparties are key to managing risk for investors. These robust structures are essential drivers of trust in the financial ecosystem.
  2. As a concentrator of risk, CCPs are systemic. In times of crisis, a diverse ecosystem of CCPs plus a clear, manageable resolution process are key prerequisites to preserving stability.
  3. In the case of resolution, the EU Supervisors and the resolution authority must be able to expeditiously reach the appropriate decisions necessary to fully protect European financial security, including its monetary policy constraints in a way that shields European tax payers from potential losses.
  4. In that context, day to day risk monitoring is crucial. It necessitates easy access to information by European supervisors, as well as efficient conditions for access to central bank liquidity based on a one-step decision making process.
  5. The legal framework in which the CCP operates must be EMIR equivalent and the CCP should fall under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

Frankfurt Main Finance and Paris EUROPLACE urge the responsible European authorities to clarify their position without delay and by doing so, bolster certainty in this systemically relevant pillar of the European financial system.

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