Finance: The Grand Duchy’s banking industry trade group marked its 75th anniversary with a forward looking soirée this week.
Photo: Olivier Minaire
It started with ten institutions in 1939 that wanted their voices represented and today it has 149 members. On Tuesday evening, the Luxembourg Bankers Association (ABBL) celebrated 75 years of representing firms in talks with trade unions, the Grand Duchy’s government, and increasingly with European authorities in Brussels.
“Thank you Luxembourg”, outgoing ABBL board chair Ernst Wilhelm Contzen said during the ceremony. “We export 95% of our financial products; our domestic market is Europe and its 500 million citizens.”
He stressed that the future of the country’s financial sector remains international, as has been the case since Eurobonds were introduced in the 1960s.
“All unions have a financial centre, often located in a small jurisdiction; I hope that Luxembourg could play this role at the European level,” Yves Mersch, a former governor of Luxembourg’s central bank and current European Central Bank executive board member, said in a video message.
“The image of the financial sector occupies an important place on the government’s agenda,” Luxembourg’s prime minister, Xavier Bettel, said in his speech. “We must say to our detractors who we are, what we do and the changes we have occuring in the coming years.”
The event also marked the passing of the ABBL torches. At the end of his second term, Contzen will step down as board chair. (In January, he resigned as CEO of Deutsche Bank in Luxembourg and joined its supervisory board.) Yves Maas, CEO of Crédit Suisse in Luxembourg, will take over the ABBL chairmanship on May 1.
On the same date Jean-Jacques Rommes will step down as ABBL’s CEO, to be replaced by current management board member Serge de Cillia.
More than 600 people attended the anniversary event, which was held at the Philharmonie in Kirchberg.