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Brexit Frankfurt Finance Summit

After Brexit, financial centres confronted with a new reality

Just six weeks before the Brexit Referendum, in his keynote at the 2016 Frankfurt Finance Summit, Dr. Wolfgang Schäuble, German Federal Finance Minister, described this as possibly the biggest political decision in a generation. Schäuble stated that “I think both the EU and the UK are better served with Britain remaining,” and later posited that “Great Britain’s relationship with Europe should not be defined by splendid isolation, but by splendid integration.” Last year’s nightmare became this year’s reality. Article was triggered on March 29, 2017, and official negotiations are underway and on the clock. This year’s Summit, titled Europe Reloaded – Challenges for the Financial Sector, will seek to encourage productive dialogue on how Europe can move forward after Brexit.

With the formal declaration by the United Kingdom’s government to withdraw from the European Union, Brexit has now entered a new and decisive phase. Hubertus Väth, Managing Director of Frankfurt Main Finance e.V. states, “The beginning of the exit negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union are imminent. The negotiating parties are entering uncharted territory. Of the utmost importance, will be standing fast to the maxim that maintaining stability in the financial system must take precedence over individual interests. Both parties must strike the delicate balance between averting a cliff-edge scenario while still maintaining the recognizable appeal of membership in the EU.”

The United Kingdom’s withdraw from the EU is regrettable. The anticipated loss of rights, including passporting, will create a dramatic shift of banking and financial services out of London. While bad for London, and Europe in general, European financial centres are poised to profit from this exodus. “The Financial Centre Frankfurt is exceptionally situated to assume a position functioning as a bridge for London into the EU,” explains Väth, “As the home of the European Central Bank, the Europe’s insurance supervisory mechanism, Europe’s largest stock exchange and the largest internet hub for data traffic, Frankfurt offers best infrastructure for credit institutions and financial services providers active across Europe. Frankfurt’s TechQuartier and dynamic, growing FinTech ecosystem have been distinguished by the Federal Government with the Financial Centre Frankfurt’s appointment as Germany’s Digital Hub for the finance industry. Therefore, we still estimate that around 10,000 jobs will be relocated to Frankfurt in the coming years.”

These estimates of jobs moving to Frankfurt are not empty estimations. Just last week, Väth reported in the Financial Times that Frankfurt already has more than an indication from three of the five largest US banks, as well as a Swiss, Japanese, Korean and Indian bank that they have either decided to relocate operations to Frankfurt or are in the process of doing so. Clearly, Frankfurt is in the pole position to benefit from Brexit, but certainly not alone amongst European financial centres. Each financial centre is uniquely equipped to accept certain functions and business units. For example, Luxembourg and Dublin are ahead with asset managers. Warsaw’s affordable and well trained talent pool should result in an influx of back office functions. It seems certain that operations will move out of the City of London, but will be fragmented across European financial centres.

However, major questions still linger. What will the new financial centre landscape look like? Will Euro Clearing be forced under ECB jurisdiction? If so, who will win this 500 billion EUR market? Will the European Banking Authority join the other European regulatory functions in Frankfurt? The future of Europe and its financial centres will be the topic of the 2017 Frankfurt Finance Summit’s first keynote and panel discussion.

On the Move: the Future of Finance

Top masters students from the region’s business schools were invited to the Frankfurt Finance Summit. Mariam Abdelhady, Master of Finance student at Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, reflects here on her impressions from the event.

On May 12th, 2016, I had the great opportunity to attend the 6th Frankfurt Finance Summit, which is organized by Frankfurt Main Finance (FMF) in collaboration with Frankfurt Institute for Risk Management and Regulation (FIRM). The annual summit, highlights the importance of Frankfurt as the center of financials stability and bank regulations in the Euro zone. It gathers Central bankers, regulators, representatives of the supervisory authorities, academics, financial politicians and practitioners together to discuss current financial issues from different perspectives. The focus of this year’s summit was digitalization and its impact on different players in the financial market. The discussions and speeches were divided into four parts:

Digitalization – The Dawning of FinTechs

The Summit started off by Dr. Lutz R. Raetting, Chairman of the Executive Committee of FMF, expressing his pleasure with sustaining the summit for the 6th year in a raw. Refereeing to the title of the Summit, he pointed out to the fact that we are all always “On The Move”, be it voluntarily or due to someone else pushing us to. As digitalization is the main focus of this year’s summit, he mentioned that the number of FinTech companies is increasing in the region and specifically in Frankfurt. The reason for this is the ideal conditions Frankfurt provides FinTechs with, in terms of the proximity to the regulator, as well as the best environment for the internationalization of their businesses.

In support of this view, Hessian Minister of Economics, Energy, Transport and Regional Development Tarek Al-Wazir highlighted the fact that Frankfurt will open its Fintech center in four months with the goal of improving the communication between start-ups, banks and regulators. This in turn will attract investors to Frankfurt and will position the city as an “innovative location for IT-driven start-ups in the financial sector”. Additionally, Al-Wazir stated that the current financial sector is undergoing fundamental changes mainly due to the economic and regulatory conditions and the ongoing digitalization, which explains the focus of the summit.

Examining the impact of FinTechs on the banking sector, Mr. Gottfried Leibbrandt, CEO of SWIFT, explained the concepts of Blockchain and Bitcoin and how they would impact the banking sector and SWIFT. Nevertheless, he believes that banks will make it through, just like they did in the 90s during the first wave of FinTech and the rise of online banking and electronic trading. The key for banks is to make use of those innovations to facilitate their work and not allow them to take over their work, whereas the main threat remains to be cyber security. On the other hand, Hauke Stars, Member of the Executive Board of the Deutsche Börse AG, believes that only those institutions that are able to adapt to the changing environment will survive. In accordance to this view, Roland Boekhout, Chairman of the Management Board of ING-DiBA AG, stated that cooperation with FinTechs in essential, because their technologies and services may be in the interest of their customers.

Redefining Banking – Regulatory and Economic Challenges

Another interesting topic discussed in the summit was the merger deal between Deutsche Börse and the London Stock Exchange. Mr. Carsten Kengeter, CEO of Deutsche Börse, explained the completed steps towards this merger, as well as the implications of this deal on the capital market and the benefits associated with it.

Furthermore, this panel discussed the potential implications of the capital market union on the banking sector, future regulations and the impact of what is believed by some to be BASEL 4, as well as the future of some financial institutions, giving the changing regulations and the rise of digitalization. Although past regulations have resulted in a more resilient banking sector, new ones are believed to make the conduct of some activities more difficult, hence hindering banks from realizing much of the profits they used to gain. Regarding the impact of digitalization and FinTechs on the banking sector, it is believed that they will change the business models of banks. Therefore, it is essential for the supervisory authorities to find the balance between supporting innovation and protecting customers and the financial system as a whole.

Tectonic shift – Where will finance move to?

Federal Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble’s speech focused on the proposed referendum on the Brexit and its impact on the future of finance in the EU. Although he advocates that Britain should remain in the EU, underlying its importance to the union, but should the referendum result in otherwise, the exit phase should immediately begin. He believes that Prime Minister David Cameron had negotiated a good deal and that no further concessions and renegotiations would be possible, in case of a majority votes for the exit. Hence he stated that “in means in, and out means out” with all the implications this might have. Additionally, Federal Finance Minister Schäuble highlighted the fact that in addition to the Single Supervisory Mechanism, there are still other areas in banking regulations, as well as fiscal budget, policies and security that will continue to improve in the future, with or without Britain.

Financial Inclusion

Discussing the importance of technology to the financial sector, Mr. Diwakar Gupta, Vice President of the Asian Development Bank, explained, using India as an example, that new technologies, like mobile banking, allows the large portion of the population living in rural areas to access financial services. Additionally, governments should also make use of such technologies, for example to make sure subsidies really reach the poor. Mr. Gupta believes that the biggest challenge for technology-based financial services is getting people to use it for the first time.

Overall, attending this summit was a great experience exposing us to the main topics that might affect the financial sector as a whole and its main players in the near future, with insights from top notch practitioners, as well as financial politicians and regulators of the field. Such unique experiences that Frankfurt School provides to its students, along with academic excellence is what differentiates it from other schools and universities.

British EU Referendum: Possibly the biggest political decision in a generation

In the eyes of Germany’s Federal Minister of Finance Dr. Wolfgang Schäuble, the up-coming referendum on EU membership is possibly the biggest political decision facing the citizens of the UK in a generation of more. Minister Schäuble expressed this in his keynote address at the Frankfurt Finance Summit. He advocated for the UK to remain in the EU, but explained that there would not be any further concessions made. If the UK were to decide for a Brexit, the exit phase would begin immediately. He also explained that the government would not campaign for the headquarters of Deutsche Börse to remain in Germany in the case of a merger with the London Stock Exchange. This will also hold in the case of a Brexit.

Watch Dr. Schäuble’s entire address below.

WHU Master in Finance Students on the Future of Finance

Top masters students from the region’s business schools were invited to the Frankfurt Finance Summit. John Offermann and Xavier Hilderbrand, both Master in Finance students at the WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, reflect here on their impressions from the event.

The world of financial studies is full of theories and ideas. Rational economic actors, econometric methods and various pricing models form a standard diet for would be financial aficionados. The question echoing in business schools is how these ideas actually affect the world of finance, and then in turn, the real economy. Thus as students of the Master in Finance program at the WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, we greatly appreciated the opportunity to participate in the Frankfurt Finance Summit 2016 and see how financial theory affects practice.

Over the last six years, the Frankfurt Finance Summit has brought together leading stakeholders of the European financial industry to discuss contemporary issues in different parts of the industry. This year’s theme was On the Move and to a large extent revolved around the megatrend digitalization and its continued role in reshaping the financial sector. The summit is organized annually by Frankfurt Main Finance, an initiative that was established to actively promote Frankfurt am Main as one of Europe’s leading financial centers. Members of the organization include the State of Hesse, the City of Frankfurt and other prominent financial institutions in Europe. Lively and engaging speeches and dialogues, with exceptional speakers such as Wolfgang Schäuble, the German Minister of Finance, Carsten Kengeter, the CEO of Deutsche Börse, and Günther Oettinger, the European Commissioner of Digital Economy and Society, illuminated a select audience.

And what an audience: an inspiring blend of roughly 200 personalities from government, regulatory authorities, leading financial institutions and FinTech startups. Throughout the entire event, the atmosphere was pleasant and there were plenty of opportunities for networking and exchanging opinions. We very much enjoyed the chance to speak to different representatives of banks, insurance companies and foreign embassies and to hear their views on current issues facing the financial markets.

The summit began with an introduction by Dr. Lutz Raettig, Chairman of Frankfurt Main Finance, Wolfgang Marzin, CEO of Messe Frankfurt, and Tarek Al-Wazir, Hessian Minister of Economics, Energy, Transport, Urban and Regional Development. Drawing on Frankfurt’s history as a trading hub, each speaker accentuated the qualities that made Frankfurt one of the world’s most influential financial centers, whether that be the presence of institutions like the European Central Bank, or the State of Hesse’s strategic investments in the Messe and various FinTech incubators.

Notwithstanding the warm welcome, Tarek Al-Wazir made a stark warning to the audience: the financial sector is currently failing to support growth in the real economy. He called for financial institutions to better refine their services to support businesses all over Europe. The minister also underscored that a Brexit is not in the strategic interests of Frankfurt and Hesse, despite what would be an inevitable shift of financial clout from London to Frankfurt. This would be a recurring view from various speakers throughout the day.

Following the introduction, Carsten Kengeter took the stage. Having presided over his first Annual General Meeting the day before and on the cusp of a meeting with Wolfgang Schäuble the day after, Kengeter gave extensive insight into the ongoing merger between Deutsche Börse and the London Stock Exchange. In something of a concession to his critics, Kengeter appealed to the audience’s emotions through sound business logic. His case rests on the benefits that the deal would bring to the Deutsche Börse, the German financial community and European economy as a whole. For the Deutsche Börse, the deal will put an end to stagnant revenue and a sliding share of capital vis-à-vis muscular competitors outside the continent. For the financial markets, a united stock exchange company will better facilitate capital flows between London and Frankfurt, respectively the world’s largest financial center and the premier business gateway to Europe’s single largest economy, Germany. Ultimately, the real economy in Europe would benefit from more efficient capital allocation in consolidated rather than fragmented stock exchanges; a natural development of the European Union’s Capital Markets Union drive.

The summit then continued with the first panel discussion – a debate on financial regulation and its future in Europe. The panelists represented states, regulators and leading financial institutions. There was agreement on most overarching points. The panelists largely agreed that overregulation could threaten the industry and that the industry as a whole is better prepared for any future shocks than in 2008. This consensus broke down somewhat when discussing details; there was a considerable mix of views on further developments to the Basel regulations and the effects of new regulations on important retail financial products like mortgages. The panel agreed that future supervisory efforts should focus on enforcing proper conduct of financial professionals rather than dwelling on problems of the past. Towards the end of the discussion, Mr. Hufeld, President of the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) depicted the “three gorillas” facing the industry: low interest rates, FinTech and regulation.

The second part of the Summit 2016 resumed after participants had the chance to discuss the first speeches and debates over a delicious lunch. The second half revolved around FinTech opportunities. Günther Oettinger was the first to speak. He pointed out that digitalization is tremendously impacting the way people and businesses communicate today. He made clear that the European Commission is trying to foster “common standards in a coherent market” to enable technology companies to operate seamlessly in Europe.

The following interview with Gottfried Leibbrandt, CEO of SWIFT, and the second panel discussion were both moderated by Caroline Hyde, Correspondent at Bloomberg Television for European Business. The discussions dealt with FinTech and the question of to what extent entrepreneurial businesses in the financial technology space are disrupting established banks and insurance companies. The general consensus was that FinTechs are increasingly forcing more traditional players to rethink their business models but are not making them obsolete. Most said that FinTechs oftentimes are helping their bigger counterparties to incorporate innovations more quickly into their businesses.

The next keynote speaker was the Finance Minister of Germany, Dr. Wolfgang Schäuble. In a direct, pointed speech, the Minister focused on the implications of the United Kingdom’s Brexit referendum. Similar to Mr. Al-Wazir, Dr. Schäuble emphatically argued that any upside benefit for Frankfurt would be at the expense of the broader European financial industry and economy. Dr. Schäuble pointed out that access to the single European market comes at a cost and the more access a country has, the more it will have to take responsibility for it. Other topics in the speech and question and answer session included the ECB’s current policies, the relative achievements of financial regulators since the GFC and the merits of the Deutsche Börse LSE merger.

At the end of the summit, Mr. Diwakar Gupta from the Asian Development Bank spoke about how FinTech is helping underprivileged people in Kenya and India take advantage of banking services. By using biometric identification technology and inexpensive cellphones, more and more people are being enfranchised by the financial system. It is now possible for people in rural areas of developing countries to open up bank accounts and make mobile banking payments at reasonable prices.

Finally, we want to thank Frankfurt Main Finance for the great opportunity to be part of the Frankfurt Finance Summit 2016. The discussions were tremendously inspiring and we enjoyed the chance to listen and speak to so many brilliant presenters and participants. We highly recommend the Frankfurt Finance Summit to anybody who has the opportunity to be part of it. You won’t be disappointed!

FinTechs Changing the Financial Sector

“The FinTech firms are not about to kill off banks, but they will reshape finance,” declared Günther Oettinger, EU Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, speaking at the Frankfurt Finance Summit. He explained that the job of regulators is not to stymie the young financial technology companies, but rather to create room for innovation. “The time is right for an open dialogue on digital transformation,” expressed Oettinger. He further outlined the importance of created the Digital Single Market.

Watch the video of Commissioner Oettinger’s keynote below.

Hesse Actively Promotes Development of FinTech Hub in Frankfurt

At the Frankfurt Finance Summit, Tarek Al-Wazir, Hessian Minister of Economics, Energy, Transport and Regional Development, revealed that the planned Frankfurt FinTech Hub will open in September 2016. The Hessian government kicked off this initiative last December with an announcement. The goal is to create an attractive environment in Frankfurt for modern financial technology companies, known as FinTechs. The FinTech Hub should help to facilitate the founding of new companies and help to retain established FinTechs in the Frankfurt Rhine-Main region.

Watch Minister Al-Wazir’s speech below.

Frankfurt Finance Summit 2016: Challenges of Digitalization

The countdown is running! The 6th Frankfurt Finance Summit takes place on May 12th, 2016 under the motto On the Move – the Future of Finance. In advance of this extraordinary conference, a short look at some of the topics with three of our renowned speakers.

Dr. Lutz R. Raettig, Chairman of the Executive Committee, Frankfurt Main Finance

“It’s a real game changer: We may be talking about tectonic moves or tectonic changes. We are all invited to discuss with prominent practitioners, with central bankers, with politicians, among all is our Finance Minister, Dr. Wolfgang Schäuble. So we are looking forward to go through a very interesting and exciting program with you.”

Carl-Ludwig Thiele, Member of the Executive Board, Deutsche Bundesbank

“Yet, we are at the beginning of a very interesting development. And right now, we are only just beginning to understand its impact on the financial system and the way we bank in the future.”

Roland Boekhout, Chairman of the Management Board, ING-DiBa AG

“Digitalization, the Internet of Everything and Industry 4.0 – they offer massive changes to all kind of industries, including financial services and banking in particular. Massive challenges to move along, but also massive opportunities to offer more convenience services to our customers.”

Frankfurt Finance Summit: Digitalization in Focus

The second panel at the Frankfurt Finance Summit On the Move on May 12, 2016 covers the theme Digitalization – The Dawning of FinTechs.

Topics include:

  • FinTech: a regulative legal black hole?
  • Where can newcomers seriously threaten the big players?
  • Do the FinTechs want to cooperate with or attack the banks?
  • How does the digital bank of the future look like?
  • What are the downsides of digital in banking, e.g. cyberrisks?

Schedule:

Keynote (1:00 – 1:20 p.m.):

Günther H. Oettinger, Commissioner Digital Economy & Society European Commission

Conversation (1:20 – 1:50 p.m.):

  • Caroline Hyde, European Business Correspondent, Bloomberg Television
  • Gottfried Leibbrandt,CEO, SWIFT

Panel Discussion (1:50 – 2:40 p.m.):

  • André M. Bajorat, CEO, figo GmbH
  • Roland Boekhout, Chairman of the Management Board, ING-DiBa AG
  • Dr. Markus Pertlwieser, CDO Private Wealth & Commercial Clients, Deutsche Bank AG
  • Hauke Stars, Member of the Executive Board, Deutsche Börse AG
  • Carl-Ludwig Thiele, Member of the Executive Board, Deutsche Bundesbank

The conference is held in English. Follow along on Twitter or over our live stream on May 12th beginning at 1:00 p.m. at frankfurt-main-finance.com/stream

Frankfurt Finance Summit: Top-level Panelists

The 6th Frankfurt Finance Summit will be held on May 12, 2016. The first panel discussion titled Redefining Banking – Regulatory and Economic Challenges will follow a conversation with Carsten Kengeter, CEO Deutsche Börse AG

 

The panel will address the following:

  • What kind of finance industry does Europe want?
  • Capital market union – state of the affairs
  • Long-term financing and refinancing revised
  • Increasing procyclicality as a result of regulation
  • The role of insurance and pension funds in substituting bank balance sheets

 

Schedule:

Conversation (10:20 – 10:50 a.m.):

Carsten Kengeter, Chief Executive Officer, Deutsche Börse AG and
 Dr. Uwe Stegemann, Director, McKinsey & Company, Inc.

 

Panel Discussion (10:50 – 11:50 a.m.):

Dr. Uwe Stegemann, Director, McKinsey & Company, Inc.

Gabriel Bernardino, Chair European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority

Andrea Enria, Chair European Banking Authority

Felix Hufeld, President Federal Financial Supervisory Authority

Benoît de Juvigny, Secretary General Autorité des Marchés Financiers

Sylvie Matherat, Member of the Management Board Deutsche Bank AG

Frank Westhoff, Member of the Board of Managing DirectorsDZ BANK AG

 

 

The conference is held in English. Follow along on Twitter or over our live stream on May 12th beginning at 1:00 p.m. at frankfurt-main-finance.com/stream


 

Frankfurt Finance Summit: On the Move

The 6th Frankfurt Finance Summit will take place on May 12, 2016. This year’s theme is On the Move – the Future of Finance and renowned experts will be on location to deliver Keynotes and participate in moderated panel discussions. Amongst those attending are German Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schäuble and Günther Oettinger, the EU Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society.

The themes of the panels are:

  • Redefining Banking – Regulatory and Economic Challenges
  • Digitalisation – The Dawning of FinTechs
  • Tectonic shift – Where will finance move to?

The conference will be help in Kap Europa at the Frankfurt convention center. The programme can be found here.