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European Financial Services Round Table

Thursday, March 22, 2018
The Ninth EFR Stakeholder Round Table and EFR Annual Report

The Ninth EFR Stakeholder Round Table on 21/22 March 2018 in Brussels brought together more than 40 top-level EU- and national level officials, central bankers, supervisors, policy makers and EFR Members, Chairmen and Chief Executives of leading European banks and insurance companies, for a lively closed-door debate on "Securing a safe and sustainable financial sector". Keynote speeches and introductory remarks were held from, inter alia, high-level representatives from supervisory authorities, regulators and international organisations. In three panel sessions, the EFR Stakeholder Round Table focussed on "Sustainable Finance/Climate change", "Financial Fragmentation or Integration" and "Cyber Security".

Publication of EFR Report: The European Financial Landscape in 2018

On the occasion of the Ninth EFR Stakeholder Round Table, the EFR published the Report: "The European Financial Landscape in 2018". Through this report, the EFR contributes to the debate on key economic and financial issues, shares its views with EU policymakers and makes specific recommendations.

While the forecasts for 2018 show that the economy will even grow faster than earlier predicted, we are facing at the same time geopolitical and political uncertainty brought about by protectionist and nationalistic tendencies which could have an impact on the competitiveness of the European financial sector. Although the economic future looks promising, Europe still faces internal and external challenges and progress needs to be made on various recent initiatives.

Many countries still need to carry out structural measures. At the European Union level, the Single Market, the Banking Union and the Capital Markets Union need to be deepened, while the Better Regulation agenda has to be taken a step further. Proposals concerning the Eurozone should lead to a more resilient Eurozone.

This report asks attention for challenges posed by Financial Fragmentation, the Sustainable Finance Agenda and Cyber Security that need to be addressed:

  • Increased fragmentation as a result of the post-crisis regulatory response underlines the need to safeguard the Single Market, to protect the level playing field and to provide long-term financing for the economy. The Banking Union should be completed and all rules that entail a fragmented approach to regulation, or threaten to create unnecessary costs for participants and the wider economy, should be revised. Due consideration should be taken of the cumulative impact of regulation on economic activity. Consistency with politically agreed European frameworks is important. Taking measures that could harm European stability and competitiveness should be avoided.
  • Sustainable finance and climate change are important topics and it is essential that the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and the commitments of the Paris Agreement on climate change are met. The financial sector has a key role to play in delivering a strong and viable economy, which is long-term and sustainable. A robust and stable comprehensive framework is needed to provide an enabling and incentivising environment to support an early and predictable transition to a low-carbon economy, investment in green technologies and ensure that growth can be financed in a sustainable way. The EU is well-positioned to encourage reform in the key areas of unlocking green and sustainable finance; of understanding, managing and mitigating the risks; and of increasing transparency. Furthermore, the EU has an important role to play at international levels to champion global action to promote the transition to a low-carbon economy, through organisations such as the UN and the G20.
  • The EFR is very much engaged in the digital revolution and related policy initiatives. We advocate a forwardlooking regulatory environment for the development of digital financial services, considering level playing field issues with Fintechs, big digital players and non-EU players. A big challenge is the global risk that cyber crime poses, where intentional cyber crime or unintentional misbehaviour create serious threats for the financial system. More consideration should therefore be given to this risk when proposing legislation to provide open access to systems. In this context, the sharing of information between public sectors is essential. Financial institutions are already informing the public authorities about cyber attacks, but we believe policy makers could do more to cooperate and to share their information on cyber risks.

Accompanying Document(s)
Approved annual EFR report 17.4.2018.pdf