The budgetary situation of the local authorities in Flanders does not cause concern. Most municipalities recorded a surplus on their accounts at the end of last year and the municipal debt is also decreasing. A prudent spending policy axed at controlling the labour costs together with somewhat less investment spending are at the heart of this result. This being said, the future may be somewhat less rosy as rising pension costs and tax shift related lower municipal revenues are to be expected.
Book review of Sylvester Eijffinger’s and Donato Masciandaro’s (eds.) “Hawks and Doves: Deeds and Words. Economics and Politics of Monetary Policymaking.”
Critique du livre “De l’or des templiers aux cryptomonnaies.
Histoires d’économie” de Bruno Colmant.
First Lamfalussy Lecture by Mario Draghi, President of the ECB, at the Banque Nationale de Belgique, Brussels, 26 October 2018.
Due to the country’s geographical proximity, the UK is one of Belgium’s most important trading partners. 3,2% of Belgium’s value added (goods and services combined) is generated by the UK’s total final demand, with the UK being Belgium’s fourth largest export destination for goods. However, the bilateral trade relationship is starkly imbalanced, as Belgium has a trade surplus in goods of €14,3 billion vis-à-vis the UK. This paper shows that this strong intertwinement leaves Belgium vulnerable to the negative economic impact of the UK’s leave vote, something already made visible by the depreciation of the Pound Sterling. While one can only hope for an as deep as possible EU-UK economic integration to be negotiated after Brexit, it is of the utmost importance for businesses and certainly SMEs, which are very important for the Belgian economy, to prepare for all scenarios, including a ‘cliff-edge’, leading to BE-UK trade under WTO-rules.
Brexit is an important event for countries like Belgium which are heavily exposed to the UK’s economy. As talks on a Withdrawal Agreement and a future relationship between the UK Government and the European Commission’s Brexit Task Force are ongoing, this paper provides an assessment of 5 possible scenarios for Brexit: a no-deal leading to ‘cliff-edge’ chaos and a future relationship based on WTO commitments, an extension of the art.50 negotiation period, an extension of the transition period, a comprehensive EU-UK free trade agreement, and the UK’s ‘White Paper’ proposal. We show that for an orderly divorce with continued intense economic relations, one or both parties must move away from their ‘red lines’. The outcome of the negotiations is therefore impossible to predict at the moment, also because sound economic reasoning is falling victim to politics and these are most volatile in the UK. We conclude with an overview of the impact of the Brexit scenarios discussed on parties’ principles.
With less than six months until the UK leaves the European Union, businesses across Europe face significant political and regulatory uncertainty. Brexit is unprecedented in its scale and complexity and creates uncertainty for all sectors of the economy, but particularly for firms which have a large share of cross-border business including wholesale banks. This article focuses on the practical challenges which wholesale banks face in their preparations for 29 March 2019. To ensure an orderly withdrawal process and provide additional time for businesses to adapt, a transition period to the end of 2020 remains critical. It is important that an agreement on the Withdrawal Agreement is reached as soon as possible to provide certainty of the transition period. In the absence of certainty that there will be a transition period, firms are implementing their contingency plans to ensure that they can continue to service their clients and a number of operational and practical challenges remain. These include significant risks that urgently require policymakers and regulators to work with the industry on solutions. Given the extremely tight timescales, these issues have to be addressed as a matter of urgency by policymakers and regulators to ensure an orderly withdrawal which minimises disruption to clients and consumers and safeguards financial stability across Europe.
The fast development of robo-advice has responded to a growing demand for automation and enhanced capabilities to industrialize investment advisory (IA) solutions in the FinTech landscape. Until recently, the first generation of robo-advisors have naturally focused on the low-end segment of the IA market, mostly thanks to a rather low sophistication of the portfolio allocation systems based on simplistic versions of Modern Portfolio Theory, leaving wealth managers with no serious competition from fully digitized solutions. Nowadays, the second generation of robo-advisors is more ambitious, both from a scientific and an ergonomic point of view. Even though we are not yet witnessing the age of industrialized big data or machine learning fully automated investment advisors, the maturity level of today’s robo-advisors is sufficient to accommodate behavioral sources of complexity like mental accounting or loss aversion at the investor’s level. The pressure on margins induced by regulation and digitalization gradually increases the competitive advantage of robotized IA in the mass affluent and private banking segments, making them a serious threat to those incumbent firms that cannot adapt with proper tooling or niche offering. In the near future, the mature generation of robo-advisors, with full deep learning and data treatment capacities, will presumably coexist with those firms that have been actively preparing today, that will use performant tools besides human expertise, but in a world in which fees will presumably have largely decreased and service quality will have been improved, at the benefit of the customer.
Lorsque je vais à des conférences dont le sujet est « l’innovation » un des thèmes les plus populaires est la « Blockchain ». Tout le monde a son avis concernant cette nouvelle technologie mais peu de monde sait de quoi il en retourne exactement. Cet article est l’occasion de rappeler très succinctement ce qu’est la Blockchain, d’où elle vient, où elle a déjà montré un intérêt et ce que l’on en fait dans le domaine financier !
Cette étude examine si le Bitcoin peut (ou pourrait) constituer une alternative crédible à l’euro ou au dollar. Est-il une menace pour la politique monétaire, ou, au contraire, doit-il constituer une source d’inspiration pour les banquiers centraux ? Le bitcoin fait face à de nombreux défis. Premièrement, il est loin de constituer un système de paiement stable et fiable, comme l’aurait voulu ses concepteurs. Deuxièmement, le bitcoin est, par nature, un objet quasi-ingouvernable. Troisièmement, le bitcoin, contrairement à ce que pourraient penser ses défenseurs, ne permet pas de protéger efficacement les données et la vie privée de ses utilisateurs. Pour autant, le Bitcoin n’est pas sans intérêt. L’article se conclut par quelques pistes qui pourraient inspirer, notamment, les banques centrales.