By Luca Bertalot, Secretary General, EMF-ECBC
The EMF-ECBC strongly believes that communication amongst its members as well as between them and the other stakeholders in our sector plays – and will continue to play – a pivotal role in building a common market infrastructure which helps to enhance the exchange of market best practices and governance. We live in a very complex and dynamic financial and regulatory environment, and for this reason we believe that it is only by facilitating communication that we can build an effective market platform which will help pave the way for conscious market responses to the challenges in front of us. As such, the EMF-ECBC has launched a new communication tool – the EMF-ECBC Blog – which will allow our members and stakeholders in our industry to exchange their views, ideas, concerns and questions with a broad readership. This is intended to help all of us to better understand the views of market participants from the four corners of the Old Continent and beyond.
“Therefore I say to you, let Europe arise!”
With the intention of being somewhat provocative based on the events of recent weeks in Brussels, I start with a quote from Winston Churchill in his famous speech at the University of Zurich on the 19th of September 1946 (full speech available here). As his speech made abundantly clear, 70 years ago Churchill captured with a pioneer’s vision the strength and potential of the European dream:
“The structure of the United States of Europe, if well and truly built, will be such as to make the material strength of a single state less important. Small nations will count as much as large ones and gain their honour by their contribution to the common cause.”
Today, more than ever, these words are a challenge to those of us who believe in the European dream just as much as for those who oppose it.
In the context of the current political debate on the future shape of the European Union, we believe that the call of Churchill’s words also applies to the day-to-day activities of European trade organisations such as the EMF-ECBC, raising the crucial question as to what is the role to be played by a European market participant’s platform? Being part of the first real “European generation” which grew-up with and was educated through the Erasmus programme, and with “Europe” ever-present as an entity not just a geographic term, we feel a responsibility to act as scouts, seeking out a new path in uncharted territory; territory characterised not only by revolutionary macro-financial developments but also, and more importantly, with uncertain social and political implications.
Consequently, we believe that the activities of the EMF-ECBC play an essential role in steering market-led solutions and highlighting potential market/legislative pitfalls by facilitating communication at a European level. In parallel, over recent years our organisation has also developed a broader scope of action with a view to reinforcing European perspectives in the debates of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, which have a global impact. In this work, communication is a crucial means by which we are able to seek to prevent market disruption and enhance market consensus and confidence.
Like most issues these days, everything is interconnected to a greater or lesser degree, and it is no different with regards to the activities of an industry think-tank, the products of which can have deep political and social implications. Decisions taken by market participants acting and implemented at a European level can have a significant impact on the creation of a single market. Market-led initiatives can also help to ensure European financial stability in line with the spirit of the better regulation approach sought by Commissioner Hill.
As such, one of the cornerstones of a market-based platform like ours is structuring the organisational governance in a way which ensures the proper representation of every market and of all participants active in those markets. This was the objective – and we believe the result – of the review of the EMF-ECBC governance structure undertaken in 2014, resulting in the establishment of a new common legal entity, the Covered Bond & Mortgage Council (CBMC). In the CBMC, every member stands on an equal footing, thereby guaranteeing fairness and market representation in the modus operandi of our activities.
A second crucial element is to act as a market discussion forum and catalyst for market-led initiatives, i.e. to become the “hub” for market-specific information, where questions can be raised and constructive answers found, and through which good decisions can be taken and implemented. It is with this aim in mind that the EMF-ECBC has sought to realign its communication tools over recent years in order to provide its members and our industry’s wider stakeholders with the information and input they need at the right time, in the right format and through the right channel. For example, we have moved towards holding regular and participant targeted roundtable/panel events focusing on very specific questions of current debate. These roundtables/panels are also intended not just to be a window onto our sector, but very much to result in concrete proposals as to how we can move the debate and market forward, and actively inform the future activities of our organisation. It is in this spirit that we launch the EMF-ECBC Blog.
As mentioned above, today, Europe is not so much a geographical place but an idea which thrives based on the innovative ideas that it stimulates. This is why it is so important for us to have a market platform where ideas can be launched, exchanged and discussed. In this context, we warmly invite all market participants to subscribe to and follow the EMF-ECBC Blog, and to use it to share with us their views and ideas on the current and future state of our industry.
We would like to invite all EMF-ECBC members and market participants to comment on our new blog and to share ideas together. We also welcome contributions from potential guest authors from the Industry. If you would like to know more about the EMF-ECBC Blog or to ask about a potential blog post, please contact the Secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The aim of the EMF-ECBC is to support the European economy and facilitate access to capital markets by harmonising and promoting market best practices and, in particular, long-term funding and mortgage origination techniques, through:
- an intelligence platform where initiatives are debated, legislative proposals are discussed and best practice is exchanged in order to adopt common positions; and
- providing unique, unrivalled and timely legal, economic, statistical and research information, as well as other funding and market information.
The EMF-ECBC brings together mortgage lenders and covered bond market participants. The EMF-ECBC has a core European focus whilst representing views and sharing technical knowledge and networking at a global level.