A new team leading the ABBL
At the Ordinary General Meeting, held on 30 April 2010, ABBL member representatives elected Mr. Ernst Wilhelm Contzen, CEO of Deutsche Bank Luxembourg S.A ., as new Chairman of the Luxembourg Bankers’ Association, thus replacing Mr. Jean Meyer who had held the position since 2005. On the same occasion, Mr. Carlo Thill, Chairman of the Management Board of BGL BNP Paribas, was elected as new Vice-Chairman.
In his speech to the General Meeting, the newly elected Chairman stressed the importance of safeguarding the competitiveness of the Luxembourg financial centre. The financial centre will need to further specialise in existing market niches as well as develop new competency niches in order to convince clients of its added value. Luxembourg needs to regain the trust of clients, whether they are private or institutional.
In the context of the Tripartite discussions, Mr. Contzen pointed out the necessity of controlling costs, an essential element of competitiveness.
Mr. Contzen also insisted that Luxembourg can no longer afford a negative international press. Luxembourg banks are thus called upon to adopt a zero tolerance approach when it comes to reputational risks.
“Nëmme zesummen sin mir stark”: As new ABBL Chairman, Mr. Contzen is committed to bolster the ties between the association’s members as well as the collaboration with the other representative bodies of the financial centre. Finally, Mr. Contzen also wishes to personally invest himself in the communication with public authorities, regulators as well as with the general public.
Some key messages from the new Chairman's speech:
(...) Luxembourg is one of the most important financial centres in the world and is seen as an attractive location for individuals and companies.
In order to remain attractive, it is necessary to keep costs under control without upsetting the social balance. The ABBL, representing the financial sector, has to be part of these discussions. Banks contribute significantly to the national budget. As a consequence, the government as well as the unions, should pay attention to our needs in order to maintain Luxembourg as a world leading financial centre.
I feel free to comment on the outcome of the Tripartite. Historically, this country has lived in a consensus driven way and I am convinced this is a very good way to manage the country.
I would like to make it very clear that consensus does not mean ignoring the facts. I have learned here in Luxembourg that the indexation is an “ultimate goal”, especially for the unions.
During these hard times when competition dictates prices we cannot simply continue as before. Only by cost cutting can we survive and only with moderate taxes we can attract new customers and create new jobs (...) ".
"(...) For all of us it is important to have a look at our client accounts and to ensure that they are compliant with good corporate governance standards.
We also have to focus on the “Know Your Customer” process in order to avoid any reputational risk.
We must have zero tolerance for reputational risk. Damage to our reputation equals damage to Luxembourg as a financial centre. We cannot afford negative press coverage (...)".
"(...) The current crisis marked the end of the era of expansion in Luxembourg. We have to start a new era. Certainly the ABBL team, and hopefully the other teams of the financial sector, have to lead the way in presenting ideas for you and for the government in order to bring Luxembourg forward.
The ABBL and the other groups should be the “think tank” for the banking industry in Luxembourg. That means we have to have open dialogue with the politicians, the government, the regulator and the Central Bank in order to explain what we intend to do. These above mentioned groups should pay attention to what we have to say and should dedicate more time to focus on the financial sector.
(...) We have to take immediate action to re-establish our clients confidence, to convince the population and the politicians that the role of banks and financial institutions is vital and beneficial for the whole economy.
The ABBL should be the voice of the financial sector aiming to establish Luxembourg as one of the most important financial centres of the world. We all have to market Luxembourg as a top tier financial, multi-cultural and international location and an enviable place to live.
(...) Our Association is very diversified. Our members include not only bankers but also auditors, lawyers and other professionals.
This guarantees a wealth of knowledge and a broad range of expertise. I believe that these groups are doing an excellent job, preparing laws and directives and they always deliver within the deadline.
During our road shows to promote Luxembourg they always take an active role and we appreciate this. We should aim to ensure that senior banking representatives regularly form part of these teams.
(...) As you will know, all institutions who are in charge of the financial sector (like ABBL or ALFI) will move to a “new home” in Luxembourg, right next to the Chamber of Commerce. This local concentration of financial institutions should also lead to a mental “get together” between them. This will also result in additional synergies.
Even if there are different presidents, the organisations themselves have to work closely together in order to improve the communication and public relations for Luxembourg as financial centre – focusing on clients and investors.
(...) It will be necessary for the members of the umbrella organization PROFIL to co-operate in order to define the future of the Luxembourg financial system and to create new solutions for the future. The ABBL has to be the platform that promotes the interests of the Luxembourg financial place – but you are the ones who can help to reach the unity of the financial sector.
“United we stand – divided we fall”: Together as one we will have the power to create a successful future for our financial place – our Number one: Luxembourg.
We do not need more analyses about the financial place here! We have enough of them, you colleagues here, sitting in this room, know the situation: Let´s act and implement solutions together.
The ABBL is prepared with a “new spirit” to work hard for that. The same applies to me (...)".
(source: ABBL/photo: Deutsche Bank Luxembourg)