Over 90 top-class guests from Switzerland and abroad accepted their personal invitations to Lucerne. The eighth edition
of the International Structured Products Forum dealt particularly with various issues related to pensions/pension funds
and regulatory changes. The forum, which is organized by SIX Swiss Exchange and the Swiss Structured Products Association
(SSPA), has been offering a sophisticated program and a unique platform for the structured products industry since its
inception. The forum was held for the first time at the Grand Hotel National in Lucerne.
The forum was opened by Christian Reuss, Member of the Management Committee, SIX Swiss Exchange. He addressed current
regulatory issues in a transnational context and current developments in relation to market structures.
Dr. Michael Loretan, Head of the Asset Management Division at FINMA, started with a review (2006-2015) of regulatory
milestones in Switzerland and then moved on to the issues that are influencing the industry today. The panel discussion
clearly focused on the final version of the Financial Services Act (FinSA), the Financial Market Infrastructure Act
(FMIA) and the Financial Institutions Act (FinIA).
This was followed by a discussion with the President of the Association, Georg von Wattenwyl, who concentrated on the
prospects of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) in a transnational context in comparison with
Switzerland's perspective and their compatibility in the area of product regulations.
Real reforms are needed
Dr. Peter Grünenfelder, Director of Avenir Suisse, opened the round-table meeting about pensions in Switzerland. The
reforms are nowhere near sufficient to ensure that pensions in Switzerland are robust enough. He proposed to make use
of the economies of scale and allow individuals to have free choice of pension funds to increase efficiency and benefit
from the interest effects of ongoing contributions. This was followed by a lively discussion among the round-table
participants. Here, it was made clear that Swiss pensions need to be reformed in a way that leads to actual improvements.
The measures that are currently being discussed, including changes to the conversion rate and the retirement age, are
just a drop in the ocean. The participants were jointly in favor of an increase in the amount of information made
available between the boards of trustees of Swiss pension funds and rethinking asset distribution and risk management
A successful year and food for thought
Georg von Wattenwyl, President of the Association, looked back on a successful year during his speech in the afternoon.
He addressed various regulatory issues and made a special mention of Section 871(m). He also praised the pragmatic and
tailored solution to the domestic market.
The two workshops that followed sparked lively discussions and offered valuable food for thought. The Lawyer's Workshop
was headed by Daniel Haeberli, Partner at Homburger and Head Legal & Regulation at SSPA. Georg von Wattenwyl headed
the second workshop which addressed the investment process at pension funds.
Look across the border
On the second day of the forum, Thomas Wulf, Secretary General of EUSIPA, granted valuable insights into the inner workings
of Brussels, behind the scenes of the EU's capital city. Here, he showed Europe's position in the context of Brexit and how
tough the negotiations are. This was rounded off with exciting insights into European and US banking regulations, European
product regulations and two case studies involving bank bailouts in Spain and Italy that could not have been more different.
Gilles Staquet, Chairman of BELSIPA, presented the work of the Belgian Structured Investment Products Association and
the Belgian market to the audience. He did not conceal the fact that the political and often-changing decisions reached
by Belgian regulators often result in challenges for the financial industry.
The industry made use of this day and a half to take part in a lively exchange and network while enjoying the relaxing
and beautiful scenery that Lucerne has to offer.
The International Structured Products Forum 2018 took place on September 5 and September 6.
Links: www.six-structured-products.com /
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