What will our world look like in 10 to 15 years from now, and what will the role of insurance companies be in 2030? While we are all very curious about the answers to those questions, we have to admit it is impossible to predict the future. In a rapidly changing and ever more complex world full of uncertainties, it already is quite a challenge to develop a three-year strategy. Therefore, Ageas and AG Insurance decided to bring together high potentials from around the world to develop scenarios for our business in 2030. In this article, we share some highlights and conclusions from the 2030 team. Some reflections on the future… but without giving you any certainty about the outcome!
How do you remain relevant as a player in the payment market, in a rapidly changing payment world? Bancontact Payconiq Company has known the answer for decades: optimal positioning and constant innovation. Even at its foundation in 1978, the company pioneered electronic payments in our country. Today, the company is still innovating, as Bancontact Payconiq Company.
The new company wants to be the driving force behind the adoption of mobile payments on the Belgian market. In this respect, the company launched its new Payconiq by Bancontact app at the start of 2019. This app enables all Belgians to pay online and offline with one single application, to settle invoices on the go and to directly pay another smartphone user even at distance.
According to the company, cash will not disappear overnight, but the number of cash payments is likely to decrease. After all, the Major Payment Survey 2019 revealed that Belgians prefer to pay with their bank card or their mobile phone. Moreover, cash has a substantial social cost. Mobile payments are on the rise: in 2018, 34 million mobile payments were made with the mobile apps of the Company, twice as many as in 2017.
What does the future hold? Many trends are constantly and rapidly changing the status quo in the payment landscape. Consumer expectations are changing, we have seen many technological innovations in recent years, and new players have entered the market. Bancontact Payconiq Company mainly sees instant payment as a game-changer.
Several traditional local schemes have lost vast, sometimes life-threatening payment volumes. Currently, however, local schemes are emerging again, as alternatives to international card schemes, as are many mobile schemes. At the same time, ‘old’ local schemes such as Bancontact Payconiq Company evolve with their time, because they are still invested in and offer mobile solutions. They all want sovereign, independent systems they can control, to ensure a robust local economy. More importantly, they all enter the real battlefield: mobile.
This paper provides insight into what the European Union or Euro Area policy could look like if it were more directly inspired by Keynes’s views. It starts from the disappointing results of the EU-EA as far as employment, inequalities or environment are concerned. It also addresses the role of rules and sanctions vs discretion in the decision process, showing that budget rules have often been violated and the corresponding sanctions have never been applied. It suggests that at least 6 policy objectives - employment, price stability, economic growth, trade equilibrium, inequalities and environment - should receive equal priority. Ultimately, it advocates policies that could trigger public investments and create a real solidarity mechanism at the EA level. Drawing on Keynes’s The long run is a misleading guide for current affairs. In the long run, we are all dead, 27 years after the Maastricht Treaty, the paper claims that the long term, ... it’s now.
The topic of ethical implications of the exploding applications of big data, machine learning and genuine AI has quickly captured the attention of industry practitioners, public observers like journalists, politicians and definitely conference organisers over the past year. It is a vast topic in its own right, deserving all the multidisciplinary attention it gets. In this short commentary, I will limit myself to reviewing some salient features of bias in the context of models used in the financial industry, and, more importantly for the practitioner, suggest some process and governance measures that boards and senior management of financial services companies can take to identify, monitor and mitigate this risk exposure.
On May 7th, 2019, the Belgian Financial Forum organised a presentation by Geert Noels, CEO and Chief Economist of Econopolis, entitled ‘SOS capitalism.’ The presentation consists of two parts. In the first part, Geert Noels discusses recent events with a major financial and economic impact, events that are partly the result of capitalism and which may further promote capitalism. In the second part he elaborates on his book "Gigantism": How did gigantism arise? What are the consequences? And how can we solve this?
This article is based on the speech given for the Financial Forum Vlaams-Brabant in Louvain, January 30th, 2019.
Continuity is the goal of each transmission of a company. For such transition it is necessary to take into account the entrepreneurial aspects, but also the relationships within the family, the emotional and psychological impact. The fiscal treatment of a transmission is different for a gift and for a succession. Each company has different characteristics, so a case by case approach is appropriate.
Bilateral trade balances have become a growing focus of attention, as some policymakers are concerned that their large and growing size may reflect asymmetric obstacles to trade. A close examination of the drivers of bilateral trade balances, however, reveals that macroeconomic factors, rather than bilateral tariffs, have been the main drivers of growing imbalances. While tariffs have played a modest role in the evolution of bilateral balances, declines in tariffs have lifted productivity by allowing a greater international division of labor, including through participation in global value chains. A sharp increase in tariffs would therefore create significant spillovers, leaving the global economy worse off. From a policy perspective, our analysis suggests that the discussion of external imbalances is rightly focused on aggregate trade balances and the macroeconomic factors that drive them. Targeting particular bilateral trade balances with bilateral tariffs will likely mostly lead to trade diversion, leaving the aggregate trade balance unchanged. Instead, further multilateral reductions in trade barriers would benefit trade and, over the longer term, macroeconomic outcomes.
As an open economy, the euro area feels the consequences of the worldwide economic slowdown. But markets are not just pricing in a cyclical slowdown. Instead, interest rates and inflation expectations are reflecting a prolonged period of low structural growth and inflation. If markets are right, this would mean a secular stagnation. Just like Japan experienced since the bursting of its asset bubbles in the early nineties.
Undoubtedly, there are some similarities between Japan and the euro area. Among others, an ageing population, issues within the banking sector or higher private savings. On the other hand, the euro area (until now) avoided the deflationary environment. And it still has policy room to avoid a straightforward ‘Japanification’ of its economy.
Book review of Geert Noels’ “Gigantisme. Van too big to fail naar trager, fijner en menselijker”.