Swiss Re Chairman poses suggestions to the Shanghai Government at IBLAC

Walter Kielholz, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Swiss Re Group, was among the speakers at the 21st annual IBLAC (International Business Leaders Advisory Council) meeting on 31 October to 1 November in Shanghai, China. He offered suggestions to the Mayor of Shanghai, Mr. Han Zheng, to support Shanghai’s future sustainable development and expansion of the city’s financial sector.

The IBLAC (International Business Leaders Advisory Council) is an advisory group to the Mayor of Shanghai, Mr Han Zheng, composed mainly of top leaders from major global corporations. This annual meeting is the opportunity for the Shanghai Mayor to get experts from across industry fields actively participating and discussing business development in Shanghai.

The 2009 focus was on speeding up the economic transformation of Shanghai by facing the challenges of the financial crisis. This is the tenth year that Swiss Re has sent its Chairman or CEO to attend this important meeting.

Apart from highlighting the importance of integrated risk management for the Shanghai municipal government, Mr. Kielholz said, “Shanghai might benefit from appointing a City Risk Officer who will be responsible for understanding the interdependence of different risks that affect the city.”

Mr. Kielholz also pointed out the opportunity for Shanghai to pioneer index-trading of risks in Asia. Such index-based instruments are traded now on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, IFEX and Eurex.  Shanghai can consider introducing exchange-traded index-based contracts to transfer insurance risks. This will help to broaden the scope of Shanghai’s financial market.

In addition, Mr. Kielholz said it would strengthen Shanghai’s international profile if the city would be able to host global or regional headquarters of international organisations and multinational companies. 

On a more local level, given that small-to-medium enterprises are an important and growing segment of the Asia-Pacific economy, their resilience and flexibility are also key ingredients in the region’s expected recovery. Therefore, Mr. Kielholz said timely government measures would be instrumental in restoring SME growth.

Mr. Kielholz also encouraged Shanghai to leverage opportunities for public-private partnership to further its sustainable development.

Accompanied by Martyn Parker, Swiss Re’s Executive Board member and head of its Asia Division, Robert Wiest, Managing Director of Swiss Re for China, and Holly Gao, Chief Representative of Swiss Re Shanghai Representative Office, Mr. Kielholz attended the two-day meeting, where he met with the government officials and key industry representatives in Shanghai.

In addition to the IBLAC meeting, Mr. Kielholz recently accepted an invitation to join the Shanghai International Financial Advisory Council (SIFAC). The SIFAC was established by the Shanghai Municipal Government two years ago to advise itself in building Shanghai into a leading international financial centre. By accepting the invitation, Mr. Kielholz will join 14 other distinguished world financial leaders to serve a term of two years and attend the SIFAC meeting in May each year.

Mr. Kielholz is pleased to have this opportunity to meet with major government officials in China for formal discussions twice a year, for both SIFAC and IBLAC.

November 2009

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