10th International Structured Products Forum 2019 – “Engagement with Wealth Management”, 3/4 September 2019 in Lucerne

Once a year the (inter)national structured products world comes to Lucerne – this year it marked the 10th anniversary of the traditional industry meeting with a record-breaking 100 participants. Under the motto “Engagement with Wealth Management” discussions at the event jointly organised by SIX & SSPA addressed inter alia future changes, challenges and opportunities in the asset management field, along with the opportunities these present for structured products.

Félix Roudier (Chair sub-NWG Derivatives & Capital Markets, Credit Suisse) & Mischa Imhof (Senior Sales Manager Indices, SIX) provided insights into the SARON and LIBOR world – “Are You Ready for SARON? The Impact of the Transition from LIBOR to SARON”. As key takeaways they declared: “SARON is a robuster solution for CHF reference interest rates than LIBOR” and “Product providers & banks now need to begin the switch”.

Following this, Luigi Vignola, Head Markets at Julius Baer, provided insights into in-house opportunities for banks to deploy structured products on the wealth management side – where there remains considerable untapped potential. The development of the sector and the contribution that the SSPA makes to the increased use of structured products in the field of wealth management was also described by Georg von Wattenwyl, SSPA President, in his welcome speech that introduced the afternoon workshops.

In his workshop “Retail Market – Getting Ready for 2020”, Dominique Böhler (Head Public Distribution Structured Products and ETFs Switzerland, Commerzbank) presented SSPA’s new working group “Retail” as well as various investor types who need to be covered and taken account of in the retail field – in small groups, participants then discussed “ground fruits, low-hanging fruits, bulk of fruits and sweet fruits”. The results will continue to be addressed by the Retail working group.

“Emphasising Structured Products in Wealth Management” – the buy-side workshop with input from Sylveline Besson (Global Head of Structured Products and OTC Derivatives, CA Indosuez Wealth Management, SSPA Committee) and Willi Bucher (Products and Sales ZB, Raiffeisen) kicked off with an interactive questionnaire on relevant topics in the field of wealth management. 61% are of the opinion that structured products will continue to grow in the coming decade, on account of lower entry levels, heightened volatility, the PUSH of AMCs or as alternatives to equities and bonds in the difficult market environment. The product name harmonisation project was also presented. This is currently being driven forward in the “Buy Side” working group.

Under a cloudless sky, participants were transported by catamaran and funicular railway to the Bürgenstock to hear the keynote speech by Prof. Dr. Aymo Brunetti (Professor, Department of Economics of University Berne) – “The Swiss Financial Centre in Challenging Times”. His summary: “To remain successful, continuous adjustments are required. Potential challenges (or opportunities) appear: increasing focus on sustainable finance, potential competition from tech companies entering the financial sector as well as digital currencies and the growth of shadow banking.”

Following a breathtaking sunset and fine dinner, participants made their way back down from the mountain. The next day they were able to hear the “Lawyer’s Update on Swiss and European Topics” presented by Daniel Häberli (Partner, Homburger AG and Head Legal & Regulation SSPA) and Henning Bergmann (CEO & Member of the Board of Directors, German Derivatives Association). The lecture “Opportunities and challenges in Actively Managed Certificates” by Rico Blaser (CEO, vestr AG) and Stefan Wagner (Global Head of Business Development, vestr AG) demonstrated the potential of AMCs. Thomas Wulf (Secretary General, EUSIPA) and Nicholas Soerensen (Secretary General, Luxembourg Structured Investment Products Association) then provided insights into the Brussels bubble as well as into the Luxembourg market, which recently announced the establishment of a further structured products association in the form of LUXSIPA.

The event was barely over before attention began turning to the next– the 11th International Structured Products Forum will be held on 1 and 2 September 2020 at the Grand Hotel National in Lucerne.

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