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Creating a strong Europe together: 20 years Euro Finance Week

13 Nov 2017

Creating a strong Europe together: 20 years Euro Finance Week

For 20 years, the Euro Finance Week has been one of the most important events in the financial sector. Through the years, it has seen the rise of the Frankfurt financial centre, which has developed from Germany’s most important exchange and banking location into Europe’s hub for financial market stability. The event has also shown that the city must live up to its challenges and obligations as a financial centre in a global environment.

The Euro Finance Week has evolved into one of the sector’s most important events because it has always been on the cutting edge, addressing key topics and questions facing the industry. The history of the conference is also that of the financial sector, its international aspirations, its crises and challenges.

The 1990s – a decade of growth

Throughout the 1990s, we saw typical years of growth. It was a decisive time for Frankfurt as a financial centre. Fostering that mindset of growth throughout the stock exchange was and remains a major challenge. What made the growth spurt possible was the revolution of electronic trading – Deutsche Börse introduced its new trading system Xetra® in 1997.

The era’s sense of optimism was not created by financial institutions alone. Communications also had a significant part to play, and the Euro Finance Week was integral to it from the start.

Topics of the following years included “Investments” and “The German financial markets”. In 2007, the Euro Finance Week’s planning committee went for a slightly more challenging title: “Germany as a financial centre in international competition”.

The topic touches on an important point: we are in competition. Europe faces global competition, which it can only withstand if it boasts a state-of-the-art technological set-up across the entire financial sector, and if it builds and sustains bridges to the outside world – a prerequisite for flourishing trade.

With the financial crisis of 2007, things did heat up. The Euro Finance Week 2007 saw bank CEOs and financial experts warn against further risks arising from the global credit crisis. At the event, Josef Ackermann stated that nervousness was rising and that it concerned every company that “had not yet presented its figures”. The event also impressively showed how complex international interdependence really was: the German market was initially unable to disconnect from the developments in the US. This was certainly partly due to the fact that German banks also held “toxic” securities in their portfolios.

Afterwards, the Euro Finance Week looked at topics such as “Regulation” and “Restructuring the financial architecture”. In 2010, the organisers focused on new and strong partnerships, emphasising the need for the financial and real economy to cooperate with policymakers to create an environment of trust and prosperity. Another dominant topic of the Euro Finance Week throughout the years was of course the euro.

In 2015, the focus shifted to digitisation, a topic that has kept us busy ever since, generating unforeseen momentum. This development also confers great responsibility on the financial sector. On the one hand, the industry cannot afford to miss groundbreaking developments, and on the other, it cannot be the source of new risks.

Strengthening the Frankfurt financial centre

In 2017, the Euro Finance Week is entitled “Banking in moving times” – a truly fitting title, as much is shifting and the Frankfurt financial centre faces great challenges. It is in fierce competition with the US and fast-developing Asian regions. And although Brexit and regulatory developments will be the central challenges of upcoming years, they also offer new opportunities. 

If, for example, a secure, liquid and efficient market for euro clearing is successfully established in Frankfurt, it would further strengthen the city’s position as a financial centre to a substantial degree – which in turn would boost the standing of continental Europe and the EU as a whole.  

A strong, competitive Europe with a single capital market is of the utmost significance. It is also what the concept of a European Capital Markets Union is based upon, which in turn serves as an instrument to reduce imbalances and strengthen the entire continent.

Carsten Kengeter
The Euro Finance Week brings together people and topics – for the future of our financial centre. It is vital for Frankfurt – and also for Europe as a whole – that the Euro Finance Week take place here, in the heart of the continent. Here, “euro” stands for Europe.

Carsten Kengeter, CEO, Deutsche Börse AG, at the “20 years Euro Finance Week” evening event

 

We are fortunate that, for the past 20 years, Frankfurt has had an event to serve as a forum for market participants to gather for in-depth discussions of all of these topics. We are fortunate to have the Euro Finance Week.

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