New publication from the EFR: “The Road Ahead for Financial Services in Europe”

A publication from the European Financial Services Round Table, chaired by Swiss Re's Walter B. Kielholz, Chairman of the Board of Directors, lays out the challenges facing policymakers on the continent and offers suggestions on how to meet them.

Although there have been some signs of recovery, Europe is in a deep need for economic growth. A healthy European financial sector is therefore essential to support this growth with the current European economy still under pressure, weighed down by indebtedness, unemployment and – especially among young people –declining competitiveness.

Together with the European Financial Services Round Table (EFR), Swiss Re and a number of other leading insurance and banking groups, are contributing to the important debate about the key issues facing Europe. A new report, “The Road Ahead for Financial Services in Europe: enabling the financial sector to create growth, promote long-term investment and improve competitiveness” highlights the challenges leading policy-makers face and which decisions could help boost long-term growth, employment and competitiveness.

Key issues and suggestions

This report explains the purpose and importance of financial services in Europe in the broader economy and its links to economic growth. It then addresses the changing needs of consumers in Europe and what their future expectations are likely to be. Ultimately, it proposes a number of high-level goals for effective regulation before focusing on 14 key issues affecting the financial services sector and making specific recommendations.

The challenges are well known. Europe needs to start growing again so it can create jobs. Many countries have to improve their fiscal positions, become more competitive and invest for the long term. This will not be easy, especially as the demographic profile of Europe is changing. The coming years will be critical. At the same time Europe is part of a more integrated world, where other economies are growing faster and becoming increasingly competitive.

Remaining competitive is key

The European financial sector is at the centre of these developments, as it provides the infrastructure to keep the economies moving and growing. The financial sector is undertaking massive operational and cultural changes. It is innovating, rebuilding trust in the financial system and working hard to meet the needs of consumers.

European financial services firms must remain competitive. This means respecting the diversity of their business models and allowing them to keep providing the products and services the European economy needs.

Published 14 March 2014

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