Paris Europlace International Financial Forum: New Frontiers in Finance

Panel discussions, expert talks, and networking: The chances and challenges facing the global financial industry – including digitalisation and sustainable finance – were discussed at the International Financial Forum, which took place in mid-July 2019 in Paris. In a workshop moderated by Arnaud de Bresson, Chief Executive Officer of Paris Europlace and Chairman of the World Alliance of International Financial Centres, Frankfurt Main Finance (FMF) Managing Director Hubertus Väth discussed the cooperation between International Financial Centres (IFCs) and global economic growth alongside representatives from the IFCs Toronto, Astana, Tokyo and Abu Dhabi.

Digitalisation and Sustainable Finance in the Financial Industry

From July 9th to July 10th, financial industry experts, CFOs, CIOs, senior executives, investors and representatives of financial services providers, regulators, and politicians met at the annual International Financial Forum near the famous Champs-Élysées in Paris to discuss:

  • Sustainable Finance
  • European perspectives in a globally changing world
  • Digital trends in Finance
  • Growing capital markets

Two of those topics – digitalisation and green finance – were emphasized in the closing address presented by Francois Villeroy de Galhau, Governor of the Banque de France: The theme of this Forum – ‘New Frontiers in Finance’ – prompts us to look towards new territories that we have to explore and conquer. Regarding finance, I will focus on two of them: digitalisation and green finance. (…) Digitalisation is shaking up the way we live and consume, opening up a world of possibilities for corporates and customers alike. Worldwide, it clearly represents both an opportunity and a challenge for banks, as well as for supervisors. (…) We are currently witnessing a growing awareness from central banks, supervisors and financial institutions about climate-related risks. Clearly, green finance and climate risks management have gone from the ‘nice to have’ to the ‘must have’, from emotion to reason.

International Financial Centers: Cooperation for Economic Growth

In a workshop moderated by Arnaud de Bresson, Chief Executive Officer of Paris Europlace, FMF’s Managing Director Hubertus Vaeth, discussed Cooperation between International Financial Centres and economic growth alongside Keiichi Aritomo, Executive Director of FinCity Tokyo, Kairat Kelimbetov, Governor of the Astana International Financial Centre, Jennifer Reynolds, President & CEO of Toronto Financial International, and Philippe Richard, Director of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority, Abu Dhabi Global Market.

While Arnaud de Bresson highlighted the significance of financial technology, globalisation as well as green and sustainable finance for Financial Centres he also pointed out, that it is vital to further convey the relevance of International Finance hubs to the general public. Kairat Kelimbetov agreed and added that International Financial Centres should not only concentrate on the banking sector but rather focus on promoting the economy. Philippe Richard informed the workshop participants about current solar energy and Green City projects conducted in the United Arab Emirates and Abu Dhabi. Moreover, Hubertus Väth emphasized the role of young, innovative and agile start-up companies – which bridge the gap between agile technology and the financial sector – as a central competitive factor for all financial institutions.

Please find a photo gallery of the event on the Homepage of Paris Europlace.

Astana Finance Days

Astana Finance Days

What are the challenges that international and regional financial centers around the globe are facing? What new trends can be observed and what new opportunities are arising that can shape the future of regional and global financial markets? Those and many other questions were discussed by global thinkers, policymakers, representatives from business, public service, and academia discussed at the Astana Finance Days in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, in July 2019. During the 4 day-long conference, the participants debated issues and opportunities related to governance, infrastructure, financial technology as well as global cooperation of International Financial Centres (IFCs).

With a shift in the balance of power between leading IFCs in Asia, North America, and Europe, that has occurred in the last decades, the role of IFCs has changed and so has their collaboration. Thus, on the second day of the conference, a panel moderated by the World Alliance of International Financial Centers’ (WAIFC) Managing Director Dr. Jochen Biedermann discussed the competitiveness of IFCs in a rapidly changing economy as well as the attractiveness of established IFCs vs. emerging IFCs. Frankfurt Main Finance’s president Dr. Lutz Raettig joined the panel “International Financial Centres: the outlook to 2025 and beyond” alongside Sandy Frucher, Vice Chairman of Nasdaq, Frederic de Laminne de Bex, Secretary-General of the Belgian Finance Club and James Martin, Deputy CEO of  AIFC.

Another theme that receives increasingly more attention was discussed by WAIFC representatives from Brussels, Busan, Casablanca, Frankfurt, London, Luxembourg, Mauritius, Moscow, Nur-Sultan, and Paris: FinTech talent development and capacity building, both of which are highly important for the success of Fintech ecosystem building. A lively panel discussion evolved around including FinTech into the curriculum of business schools, foreign education programs funded by local governments, short-term courses as well as professional certification and re-training of seasoned financial professionals.

However, global cooperation between IFCs was not just a topic during the conference: On the last day of the event, the WAIFC presented an Honorary Award to Nursultan Nazarbayev, First President of Kazakhstan, for creating the AIFC and his significant contribution to fostering global cooperation among International Financial Centres.

Guangzhou Municipal Local Financial Supervision and Administration and Frankfurt Main Finance e.V. sign Memorandum of Understanding

Guangzhou Municipal Local Financial Supervision and Administration and Frankfurt Main Finance e.V. strengthen their cooperation. From May 9th to May 10th, 2019, a Chinese delegation with 11 representatives from the Guangzhou Municipal Local Financial Supervision and Administration and some Guangzhou local state-owned enterprises visited the Financial Centre Frankfurt to conduct a two-day business visit. During these two days, the delegation had meetings with various financial organizations and several agreements on bilateral cooperation plans were achieved.

On the first day of the visit, the Guangzhou Municipal Local Financial Supervision and Administration and Frankfurt Main Finance (FMF), committed to a long-term cooperation in a Memorandum of Understanding. Dr. Lutz Raettig, President of Frankfurt Main Finance e.V., and Qiu Yitong, Director of the Guangzhou Municipal Local Financial Supervision and Administration, signed the agreement at Frankfurt’s city hall, the Römer. Dr. Nargess Eskandari-Grünberg, Deputy Mayor of Frankfurt, also greeted the delegation with a welcome speech. The partnership is an important milestone in the bilateral cooperation of both financial Centres and will guide the future implementation of a series of joint projects between both organisations.

The agreement focuses on many key issues facing today’s financial industry such as Green Finance, FinTech, and Cross-border Finance. The agreement aims to foster the development of an effective cooperation via joint programs, financial trainings, research activities, workshops, publications and study trips. Moreover, both parties will further explore the establishment of a Guangzhou-Frankfurt Financial Alliance.

Qiu Yitong, Director of Guangzhou Municipal Local Financial Supervision and Administration, stated, “Guangzhou is the only city in China’s history that has never closed its door to trading with to the rest of world – and Guangzhou would like to open its door even wider in the future. We hope that we can learn more from Frankfurt about how to develop into a leading Financial Centre.”

Frankfurt Main Finance’s Managing Director Hubertus Väth declared, “We are delighted to sign the MoU with the Guangzhou Municipal Local Financial Supervision and Administration today. We look forward to the fruitful cooperation in the future.”

During their two-day visit of the Financial Centre Frankfurt, the Guangzhou delegation also visited the CEINEX (China Europe International Exchange), the BaFin and Deutsch Bank. As many enterprise representatives from the delegation stated, Guangzhou is one of the most active trading cities in China. Participating in an international capital market is an important step for all enterprises pursuing an international development strategy. Frankfurt, as the “financial heart” of Europe, is a very good choice for these enterprises as they can benefit from the proximity to the banking sector, various stock exchanges, and regulatory authorities. Moreover, Guangzhous local enterprises are keen to attract financial institutions from Frankfurt and to foster cooperation.

Front (from left): Dr. Lutz Raettig, President Frankfurt Main Finance e.V. and Qiu Yitong, Director Guangzhou Municipal Local Financial Supervision and Administration. – Back(from left): Liu Xianchang, Director Economic Development and Finance Bureau of Guangzhou Aerotropolis Development District, Gao Shudong, Director Guangzhou Development District Bureau of Financial Affairs, Deng Xiaoyun, Director China (Guangdong) Pilot Free Trade Zone Nansha Area of Guangzhou and Guangzhou Nansha Economic and Technological Development Zone Bureau of Financial Affairs, Dr. Nargess Eskandari-Grünberg, Deputy Mayor of Frankfurt, Hubertus Väth, Managing Director Frankfurt Main Finance e.V., Eduard Hechler, Director International Affairs City of Frankfurt and Dr. Jochen Biedermann, Senior Advisor Frankfurt Main Finance e.V.

Cairo Financial Industry meets Frankfurt to discuss options post Brexit

More than 1.2 trillion USD in assets will need to be relocated after Brexit. Frankfurt is poised to gain more than 800 billion USD. Frankfurt Main Finance, representing the Financial Centre Frankfurt, with the support of the Central Bank of Egypt, informed the Financial Industry in Cairo on the most recent developments on 25 March 2019, at the Diplomatic Club Cairo.

The event brought legal and regulatory experts together the financial industry to discuss Frankfurt’s increasing role as a financial hub in the wake of the United Kingdom’s impending exit from the European Union, not just for continental Europe, but also the larger MENA region.

“As the financial centre of Europe’s leading economy, Germany, and the home of the European Central Bank, Frankfurt is in the pole position to benefit post Brexit. 48 Financial institutions, mainly from the US, Europe and Asia have decided to relocate all or part of their European banking business to Frankfurt,” explains Hubertus Väth, Managing Director of Frankfurt Main Finance e.V.

“We now see a second wave coming from the MENA region.” Yusef Ahmed, Founder and Managing Director of FIC Frankfurt International, notes. “As companies and banks finalize their Brexit contingency plans, Germany is committed to supporting Frankfurt’s key position in the new landscape of Europe’s financial industry.”

From a legal perspective, regulatory issues faced by banks moving to Frankfurt have been discussed in the context of new political conditions. Brexit also hosts opportunities for Frankfurt to establish itself as an M&A centre as well as a transaction-financing hub,” says Dr. Nicolas Bremer, Partner at the international law firm Alexander & Partner.

Dr. Rüdiger Litten, Partner at the international law firm Fieldfisher, who supported the Kuwait Finance House in establishing their fully licensed bank in Frankfurt, adds that “in the past months, we have experienced an increasing number of banks and financial institutions from the MENA-region seeking our advice on opening shop in Frankfurt.”

 

Fifth visit of FMF delegation to South Korea and Hong Kong

In January 2019, a German delegation, headed by Dr. Lutz Raettig, President of Frankfurt Main Finance, traveled to South Korea and Hong Kong.

Seoul

In Seoul, the delegation attended the FinTech & Blockchain Forum at Sogang University at which Korean and German companies were presenting their business models. Moreover, the group met with Suk Heun Yoon, President of the Korean Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) to discuss Britain’s exit from the European Unit as well as the potential implications for European financial markets and the Financial Centre Frankfurt. Furthermore, the World Alliance of International Financial Centres (WAIFC) was discussed with representatives of the city council – a global strategic alliance of which both the Korean financial centre Busan and FMF are founding members.

Busan

On the second day, the delegation took the KTX high-speed train to Busan  – the second largest Korean city and partner of FMF. After meeting with the Busan Economic Promotion Agency (BEPA) and a warm welcome by Chairman Dr. Ki Sik Park, the delegation went to the United Nations Memorial Cemetery –  a burial ground honoring United Nations Command soldiers who fell in the Korean War (1950-1953).

Thereafter, the delegation was welcomed at the Busan city hall by Jae-soo Yoo, Deputy Mayor. Mr. Yoo and Dr. Raettig emphasized the close collaboration between the two financial centres following the signing of the cooperation agreement in 2013, which will be further strengthened by the joint WAIFC membership. Back in Seoul, the delegation met with Korean politicians, companies as well as with Prof. Sooyong Park, Head of the Global FinTech Research Institute.

Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, the delegation participated at the Asian Financial Forum (AFF) – titled Creating a Sustainable and Inclusive Future and held under the auspiece of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC).

Asian Financial Forum 2019

The stall of the International Financial Centre Frankfurt, jointly organised by FrankfurtRheinMain GmbH, Hessen Trade & Invest and Frankfurt Main Finance, attracted many visitors who were interested in Brexit related topics as well as Frankfurt’s thriving FinTech scene.

In her opening address, Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, highlighted the success of FinTech in Hong Kong. Moreover, she emphasized how important the Greater Bay Area initiative, implemented by the Guangdong province, Macao and Hong Kong, are to the government of Hong Kong.

While the members of the delegation with a background in the banking sector listened to interesting presentations, the Frankfurt-based FinTech company AsiaFundManagers presented itself to a number of potential investors at the so-called Deal Flow Matchmaking Session of the AFF. At the final meeting with Dr. Raettig on the last day of the trip, the two participating managing directors of AsiaFundManagers voiced their satisfaction with the results of the talks.

 

Frankfurt Main Finance at the Toronto Global Forum: “Fintech and the Future of Money”

With a strong start-up culture, a globally-leading Fintech cluster, proximity to established banks and thus access to potential clients and funding, the Financial Centre Frankfurt has a thriving FinTech ecosystem. Therefore, Frankfurt Main Finance’s Managing Director, Hubertus Väth, was invited to share the views and perspectives of the Financial Centre Frankfurt in a panel discussion on Fintech and the Future of Money at the Toronto Global Forum.

The Toronto Global Forum is an international conference fostering dialogue on pressing economic issues with the most recent conference being titled “Navigating a World in Disruption” and held under the auspices of the International Economic Forum of the Americas (IEFA). Heads of states, central bank governors, ministers and global economic decision-makers as well as industry experts partake at the conference. With 3.000 participants and 170 speakers, it’s a good opportunity for all stakeholders involved to leverage business synergies and engage in discussions with actors of the global economy.

The conferences first forum Fintech and the Future of Money addressed the impact of rapidly developing technology on financial services and traditional banking. The forum moderated by Alexandra Posadzki, Financial Services Reporter at The Globe and Mail featured the speaker Hubertus Väth, Managing Director, Frankfurt Main Finance, Al Goldstein, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Avant, Shuman Ghosemajumder, Chief Technology Officer at Shape Security and Rafael Funes, Executive Chairman of LOVIS.

The panellists discussed how the financial sector will look like in a few years, what impact new technologies are having on financial services and in what ways regulation can support innovation and promote confidence between consumers and financial institutions. During the debate, Hubertus Väth highlighted that while Technology has changed or even fundamentally replaced some forms of traditional financial services, established financial institutions are at times losing sight of, or under-investing in potentially industry-changing trends such as Artificial Intelligence, Big data, Blockchain, cloud storage –  all of which are technologies that may have a disruptive character for the financial industry and may revolutionize future pricing, trading, clearing, settlements.

Strengthening Relations with the City of Toronto

During the latest visit to Toronto, Frankfurt Main Finance met with Thomas Schultze, Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany to Toronto and Michael Thompson, Deputy Mayor of Toronto to further the collaboration between the two financial centres, adding Artificial Intelligence to areas of cooperation.

Building a strong international network

Frankfurt Main Finance (FMF) is highly engaged in strengthening the financial centres’ international position and providing dialogue platforms. An integral part of those efforts are high-level delegation trips to partner cities. As such, FMF representatives recently travelled to Qatar and Kuwait to share best practices with representatives of the respective financial centres and to foster the dialogue on an international level.

As part of the latest visit, Frankfurt Main Finance met with representatives of the Qatar Financial Center (QFC) Authority. The organisation manages and maintains the QFC legal and tax environment, and licenses firms to conduct business in or from Qatar. Moreover, it develops relationships with the global financial community and other key institutions, both within and outside of Qatar.

Furthermore, Hubertus Väth, Managing Director of Frankfurt Main Finance, conducted an exclusive interview with the television channel Al Jazeera English, which focused on the consequences of Great Britain’s decision to leave the European Union. “London will remain one of the world’s leading financial centres,” said Hubertus Väth. However, as Väth stated, London will lose its passporting rights to the EU27, which currently allow the selling of financial products throughout the entire Union. Moreover, he emphasised FMF’s stance: “Brexit is neither good for the European Union nor is it good for Great Britain.”

This trip is an excellent example of FMF’s efforts to establish a vast international network of financial centres, which continuously grows and within which Frankfurt Main Finance represents the interests of the Financial Centre Frankfurt. Just in July 2018, FMF representatives travelled to the Global Finance Forum at Kazakhstan’s capital Astana, at which they discussed the challenges and changes in a globally interconnected financial industry with well-renowned industry experts and politicians.

Frankfurt Main Finance is a founding member of the World Alliance of International Financial Centers (WAIFC)

In an era of breakthrough technologies and rapid social change, Financial Centres are key to sustaining economic growth. Thus, the objective of the Word Alliance of International Financial Centers is to create a transparent network that facilitates cooperation and sharing of best practices to further the understanding of the importance of international financial centres for national and international economies as well as social development.

International Network FMF

Financial Centre Frankfurt, World Alliance of International Financial Centres,

World Alliance of International Financial Centers (WAIFC) launched

On October 1st, 2018, eleven global Financial Centres have launched the World Alliance of International Financial Centers (WAIFC). The new international non-profit association, registered in Brussels, was first proposed by the Financial Centres Frankfurt (Germany), Moscow (Russia) and Paris (France) in December 2016. By 2018, 7 Financial Centres have joined to establish the WAIFC with the aim to facilitate cooperation, exchange best practices across Financial Centres and to foster greater exchange with Public Authorities at the international level.

Who are the founding members of WAIFC?

The WAIFC is comprised of the following founding members:

What are the objectives of the Word Alliance of International Financial Centres?

In an era of breakthrough technologies and rapid social change, Financial Centres are key to sustaining economic growth. Thus, the objective of the Word Alliance of International Financial Centres 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 international economies as well as social development.

Moreover, the WAIFC will be project-driven, focusing on the following areas:

  • Data on Financial Centres
  • Contribution of Financial Centres to Green investment & infrastructure
  • New FinTech developments
  • The role of Financial Centres in the financing of the economy

How will the WAIFC be governed?

The newly established World Alliance of International Financial Centres will be headquartered in the Financial Centre Frankfurt. The first General Assembly will be held around December 2018, with the participation of the founding members and additional Financial Centres. The WAIFC’s Board of Directors is composed of the following senior leaders from the founding members:

  • Abdullah Al Salmi, The Capital Markets Authority Oman
  • Arnaud de Bresson, Paris EUROPLACE
  • Said Ibrahimi, Casablanca Finance City
  • Kairat Kelimbetov, Astana International Financial Centre
  • Frederic de Laminne, Belgian Finance Club
  • Jennifer Reynolds, Toronto Finance International
  • Young Ho Park, Busan International Financial City Promotion Center
  • Philippe Richard, Abu Dhabi Global Market
  • Tom Theobald, Luxembourg for Finance
  • Hubertus Vaeth, Frankfurt Main Finance
  • Alexander Voloshin, Analytical Centre Forum Moscow

Arnaud de Bresson, Paris EUROPLACE is the first elected Chairman of the body. Frederic de Laminne, Belgian Finance Club, will take on the role of the Treasurer and Jochen Biedermann, Frankfurt Main Finance, will act as the Managing Director of the newly founded association.

Find more information here.

IFF Paris Europlace le 12 juillet 2018 à Paris au pavillon d'Armenonville

WAIFC – New global strategic alliance to facilitate cooperation and economic growth

Financial Services Leaders Announce Establishment Process of World Alliance of International Financial Centers

Financial services leaders from around the globe assembled in Paris on July 12, 2018, to announce their strategic alliance under the newly formed World Alliance of International Financial Centers (WAIFC) – a global organization created to facilitate cooperation and exchange of best practices across financial centers – and to finalize WAIFC’s common objectives ahead of the signing of WAIFC’s Charter and Statues by all members in September.

A financial center is a kind of a service infrastructure for investors and corporates to manage savings and to finance entrepreneurial risk to trigger economic growth in a sustainable environment. Financial centers are known for their clustering effect, they bring together financial institutions (banks, insurance companies, asset managers …), regional headquarters of multinational companies, professional services providers.

WAIFC was proposed by the financial centers of Frankfurt (Germany), Moscow (Russia) and Paris (France) in December 2016 to explore cross-fertilization opportunities and facilitate cooperation and the exchange of best practices among financial centers to help contribute to economic growth. They were joined in Paris by the financial centers of Abu Dhabi (U.A.E), Belgium, Casablanca (Morocco), London (UK), Luxembourg, Astana (Kazakhstan), Busan (South Korea), Tokyo (Japan) and Toronto (Canada).

Initially, WAIFC will focus on the following objectives, subject to approval by WAIFC’s Board of Directors:

  • Data on Financial centers
  • Green investment & infrastructure
  • FinTech
  • The role of financial centers in financing the economy

WAIFC will be incorporated as a Belgian association with its head office in the Financial Centre Frankfurt in Germany. Its first General Assembly is planned for the last quarter 2018.

Why WAIFC is Important

Financial centers are key to sustainable economic growth. They provide the infrastructure for investment and savings which go onto facilitate entrepreneurial endeavors and economic growth throughout industries and communities.

Financial centers are not identical in size or scope of activities but cross fertilization among centers can be useful to leverage collective and individual efficiencies and best practices, and thus increase competition and growth.

Find the official Joint Communique here.

Said Ibrahimi, CEO of Casablanca Finance City and Hubertus Väth, Managing Director of Frankfurt Main Finance signed the Memorandum of Understanding at the Conference of Montreal.

Casablanca Finance City Authority and Frankfurt Main Finance e.V. commit to long-term cooperation

In a Memorandum of Understanding, Frankfurt Main Finance e.V. (FMF) and the Moroccan Casablanca Finance City Authority (CFC) agreed on a long-term cooperation. Hubertus Väth, Managing Director of Frankfurt Main Finance, and Said Ibrahimi, CEO of the Casablanca Finance City Authority, signed the memorandum on 11 June 2018, at the Conference of Montreal.

The agreement focuses on current issues facing the financial industry such as green and sustainable finance as well as fintech start-ups. Moreover, the memorandum emphasizes the commitment of both financial centres to promote business opportunities in their respective economic regions, namely the Eurozone and Africa. Additionally, the agreement aims to foster the development of an effective cooperation via joint programs, financial trainings, research activities, workshops, publications and study trips.

Frankfurt Main Finance’s Managing Director Hubertus Väth declared, “Africa offers many opportunities for the financial industry. Inclusion and sustainability are important keywords. We look forward to working with Casablanca, a young yet leading financial centre on the African continent.”
Said Ibrahimi, CEO of Casablanca Finance City, stated, “We are delighted to sign this memorandum of understanding with Frankfurt Main Finance, the leading financial centre in the eurozone. The partnership will undoubtedly reinforce the business cooperation between the Eurozone and Africa in the fields of green/sustainable finance and Fintech.”

In the upcoming weeks and months, Frankfurt and Casablanca will implement their joint plans and thus, strengthen their positions as leading financial centres.