International Structured Products Forum Lucerne 2016 – international cutting-edge sector meeting
The established meeting of the sector was held this year on 7 and 8 September, with Lucerne again serving as the venue. 85 participants from Switzerland and abroad used the event to exchange views and opinions. With an attractive and varied programme, SIX Structured Products and SSPA supplied “food for thoughts” within a market environment that is characterised by political and regulatory uncertainties.
In the current persistently low interest environment, structured products could become an increasingly interesting investment vehicle for pension funds. For this reason, their deployment was discussed in detail by the inaugural panel comprising Sebastian Frehner (National Councillor, Canton of Basel), Marco Bagutti (Occupational Pension Contingency Fund) and Dr Vera Kupper Staub (Federal Supervisory Commission for Occupational Provisioning). SSPA Chairman Georg von Wattenwyl hosted the interesting debate, which addressed amongst other things the possibility of using structured products to implement the 2020 pension and retirement reform. Pension funds can already use structured products as alternative investments. At present, they are deployed only very sparingly. For this reason, the sector needs to make new proposals to promote the broad deployment of structured products in the field of retirement provisioning. The association will be addressing this topic intensively in future.
There were topical keynote speeches. Jörg Bode (Leoteq Securities Ltd.) addressed the issue of the extent to which FinTech and digitalisation are revolutionising the financial sector, while Alain Bigar (Leoteq Securities Ltd.), examined which regulatory innovations and changes are likely to be brought about by 871 (m).
A number of workshops enabled participants to discuss topical issues and projects. They were able, for example, to test the new SSPA app – the SP Portfolio Optimizer – which will be officially launched at the beginning of 2017. The results of a survey conducted amongst 190 investors and 57 client advisors on the image and in particular the name “structured products” were discussed with participants. The study showed, inter alia, that the name had positive connotations and is considered dynamic and innovative by structured product investors. The Lawyers Workshop examined current regulatory aspects of the sector, and provided an update on topical questions such as PRIIPs regulation, as well as the most important aspects and possible solutions for the new Ordinance 871 (m) of the American IRS.
EUSIPA Secretary General Thomas Wulf cast a look at the European environment in his speech “Inside Brussels”, examining pan-European developments and trends. Zak de Mariveles (UK Structured Products Association) focused on current events in Great Britain, and took a humorous look at the sometimes significant differences between the structured products fields on both sides of the English Channel.
Next September will see another “International Structured Products Forum”. Details will be made available at the appropriate time. At any rate, 6 & 7 September 2017 should be noted in your diaries.