10th ILF Conference on the Future of the Financial Sector: "Data, Digitalization, Decentralized Finance, Central Bank Digital Currencies and the Future of Money" held on 18 January 2022

On 18 January 2022, the ILF of Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Germany, hosted the 10th ILF Conference on the Future of the Financial Sector on “Data, Digitalization, Decentralized Finance and Central Bank, Digital Currencies: The Future of Banking and Money”. The online video conference comprised a keynote speech and four panel discussions on current issues of digitalization and digitalized currencies.

The videos of this online conference are available at: <link seminars/conference-materials/>https://www.ilf-frankfurt.de/seminars/conference-materials/ </link>.

Prof. Andreas Cahn, Executive Director of the ILF, and Mr. Patrick Kenadjian, Senior Counsel, Davis Polk & Wardwell and co-organizer of the conference, welcomed the participants and made introductory remarks on the topics under discussion and presented the agenda of the conference.

The keynote address of the conference was given by Mr. Agustin Carstens, General Manager, Bank for International Settlements, Basel, Switzerland, former Governor of the Bank of Mexico, Finance Minister of Mexico, and Deputy of the International Money Fund (IMF) and he was introduced by the co-organizer of this event, Prof. Andreas Dombret, Global Senior Advisor, Oliver Wyman, former Member of the Management Board, Deutsche Bundesbank. Mr. Carstens cited the German poet, playwright, novelist, scientist and lawyer of the Renaissance, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe after whom the university in Frankfurt has been named and identified the so-called “Gretchen-Frage” (question on the main topic of life) in Goethe´s drama “Faust” of the central bankers. In his inspirational speech, he stated that the “Gretchen-Frage” for central bankers is what is the soul of money. Irrespective of technological developments the soul of money is trust. Trust cannot be outsourced or automated.

In the first panel on “Digitalization and Data: Can incumbents keep up?”, Mr. Christian Edelmann, Managing Partner, Oliver Wyman, Mr. Frank Fallon, Vice President, Amazon Web Services, Mr. Tamaz Georgadze, CEO, Raisin Deposit Solutions, Mr. Bernd Leukert, Chief Technology, Data and Innovation Officer, Deutsche Bank, and  Mr. Daniele Tonella, former Group CIO, UniCredit and CEO, UniCredit Services, under the guidance of Mr. Wim Mijs, CEO, European Banking Federation, as the moderator of the panel presented and discussed the impact on the financial sector and the aspects of digitalization of cash and money flows for incumbents and new market entrants.

The second panel consisted of Mr. Ashley Alder, Chair of the Board, IOSCO and CEO, Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission, Mr. John Berrigan, Director General, DG FISMA, European Commission, Mr. Michael Hsu, Acting Comptroller, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Dr. Jörg Kukies, State Secretary, German Federal Chancellery, Prof. Jean-Pierre Landau, Sciences Po and former Deputy Governor, Banque de France, as well as of Mr. Sébastien Raspiller, Assistant Secretary, Financial Sector, French Ministry of the Economy. The moderator of this panel discussion was Prof. Andreas Dombret.

The topic of the third panel was “Central Bank Digital Currencies: Cui Bono?”. The panelists were Mr. Ulrich Bindseil, Director General, DG-MIP, European Central Bank (ECB), Prof. Stephen G. Cecchetti, Rosen Family Chair in International Finance, Brandeis International Business School and Former Economic Advisor and Head of the Monetary and Economic Department, Bank for International Settlements, Ms. Andrea Maechler, Member of the Governing Board, Swiss National Bank; Mr. Changchun Mu, Director General, Digital Currency Institute, The People’s Bank of China, and Mr. Randal Quarles, Chairman, The Cynosure Group, former Vice Chairman for Supervision, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve. The panel was chaired by Mr. Patrick Kenadjian.

The last panel on “Decentralized Finance, Blockchain, Payment Systems, Tokens and Stablecoins, the Changing Rails of Banking and Commerce: In what do we trust?” was moderated by Ms. Monica Lopez-Monis Gallego, Global Head of Supervisory and Regulatory Relations, Santander Group. The panelists were Mr. Christian Catalini, Chief Economist, Diem Association and Founder of the MIT Cyptoeconomics Lab, Prof. Barry Eichengreen, George C. Pardee and Helen N. Pardee Professor of Economics and Political Science, University of California, Berkeley, Mr. Stefan Ingves, Governor, Sveriges Riksbank, Mr. Steven Maijoor, Member of the Board, De Nederlandsche Bank, Mr. Marcus Pleyer, President, Financial Action Task Force, and Ms. Martina Weimert, CEO, European Payments Initiative.

The conference was concluded with a speech by Prof. Markus K. Brunnermeier, Edward S. Sanford Professor of Economics and Director of the Bundheim Center for Finance, Princeton University who summarized the pending issues of the digitalization of money and finance, described technology trends that impact money, technical and regulatory questions which would influence the current and future success of crypto currencies and Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC).

At the end of the conference, Prof. Andreas Dombret thanked all panelists, speakers for the valuable insights that they shared, for their support in making this conference possible and the members of the online audience for their participation. He expressed his gratitude to the representatives of the knowledge partner Oliver Wyman and the supporter of the conference AWS Financial Services as well as to the academic conference host ILF.