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Things worth reading, the European view

Financial Services Club member Edith Rigler provides a weekly summary of the key headline grabbing views from the German / European media:

Raymond Baer of bank Julius Baer to lead Switzerland´s tax negotiations with US authorities - Handelsblatt, 19 March 2012

The last member of the founding family of private Swiss bank Julius Baer will leave its board. The bank was founded in 1890 and is today Switzerland´s largest private wealth management bank. Raymond Baer will lead a newly formed special committee of Swiss banks dealing with US authorities, specifically Swiss banks´compliance with FATCA legislation.

Women and Men in the EU - Eurostat, 8 March 2012

Just in time for International Women´s Day on 8th March, Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, published statistics on a number of topics, which reveal that

  • Women outnumber men (there were in total 257 million women and 245 million men in the EU27 in 2011, meaning that there were 105 women per 100 men),
  • The proportion of women at risk of poverty or social exclusion is higher than for men in all Member States,
  • Differences in employment rates between women and men reduce as the education level rises,
  • Internet purchases of clothes are more common among female e-shoppers, electronic equipment among males, while shopping for travel and hotels is about the same for both sexes.

New York, London, Singapore, Paris and Hong Kong are the most competitive cities, out of 120 of the world’s major cities - Economic Intelligence Unit, 12 March 2012

While there is much concern in the West about the impact of the financial crisis, which has slowed plans for urban renewal, this has not reduced the ability of US and European cities to attract capital, businesses, talent and tourists. This is one of the key findings of Hot spots: The Global City Competitiveness Index, a new report from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), commissioned by Citibank.

New York (1st) and London (2nd) are rated as the world’s two most competitive cities, while Singapore (3rd), Paris and Hong Kong (joint 4th) round off the top five. In total, cities from the United States and Western Europe account for 24 of the top 30 cities. All these cities perform relatively well across all eight categories of competitiveness measured in the index, making them good all-round performers. Other findings show that

  • Asia´s rise is reflected in the economic competitiveness of its cities.
  • A “middle tier” of mid-size cities is emerging as a key driver of global growth.
  • European and American cities dominate the human capital category of the Index. This stems primarily from the quality of their educational systems and the entrepreneurial mindset of their citizens.

Obscene manager salaries and decadence - Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, 18 March 2012

Record salaries by managers of industrial enterprises have caused an outcry and a renewed debate about sensible and justifiable compensation in Germany. Volkswagen boss Martin Winterkorn receives €17.4  million this year, twice the amount of Deutsche´s Josef Ackermann (€ 8 million). Compensation received by the top managers of Daimler (€8.7 million), Siemens (€8.6) and BMW(€6.1) is equally seen as obscene.  A recent survey shows that 71% of Germans perceive multi-million euro salaries as unjustified, even if the company in question shows a profit.

Deutsche Bank: welcome to the old boys club of investment banking - Handelsblatt, 19 March 2012

The changes to Deutsche Bank´s management structure continue to make headlines in the German domestic as well as international press.  “Where is Deutsche going”, and “investment banking having the upper hand again” are among the  critical comments. The recent refusal by Bafin (the German supervisory authority) to accept William Broeksmit as sufficiently qualified board member, leads Swiss daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung to the comment that being a buddy of Anshu Jain is simply not sufficient justification to be top risk manager of the bank. Bafin´s decision is seen as an embarrassment for Deutsche.

SEPA Implementation in Germany -  BITKOM, February 2012

BITKOM, the German federal association of the IT & telecommunications industry, has published a detailed SEPA implementation guide. In Germany, the current national DTA scheme will be eliminated by February 2014. Through a change in banks´terms and conditions (to be in force from 9 July 2012) it will be possible to transform existing mandates into SEPA mandates.

German bankers are pessimistic about the future  bankmagazin,  28 Feb 2012

According to a recent study by Ernst & Young, German bankers expect difficult times. But they expect corporate banking to have the best future perspective – 50% expect a continued positive development of the sector. The majority of bankers support the activities of the German government and the Bundesbank:   68% and 56% respectively give them positive marks.


About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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