Financial Centre Frankfurt

A Network for the Future of the Financial Centre

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

Peter Feldmann. © Stadt Frankfurt am Main

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

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

On the city’s pulse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Promising ecosystem

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

Looking beyond our borders

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