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EU-Monitor

The series "EU Monitor" focuses on political, economic and monetary developments in the enlarged EU. The spectrum ranges from political commentaries and reform of the EU institutions to matters pertaining to the European Economic and Monetary Union, financial-market and banking aspects, and the consequences of enlargement for specific sectors and countries.

39 Documents
September 13, 2017
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Analyst:
Money market funds in the euro area managed assets worth EUR 1.16 trillion in mid-2017. Low interest rates did not hamper the impressive growth by EUR 260 billion during the past three years. But new EU regulation taking effect in 2018 will impose stricter rules on fund managers. However, the measured regulation will probably not cause a major restructuring of the euro area market, in contrast to the reshuffling seen in response to the US money market fund reform. In the future, Brexit could lead to competition for non-EUR denominated money market fund business between the EU and the UK. [more]
1
August 30, 2017
Region:
It is remarkable what and how much has changed in the European banking industry since the global financial crisis erupted almost exactly ten years ago: comparing H1 2017 to the peak of the boom in H1 2007, revenue composition has shifted towards more sustainable sources, with the share of net interest income up to more than half of the total and trading income much diminished. Expenses are down, but only moderately, resulting in a fall in profits to just half of the pre-crisis level. Both the absolute amount of capital and capital ratios have risen dramatically. On the other hand, total assets have declined substantially over the past decade, contributing to a massive de-risking of the sector. [more]
2
August 10, 2017
Analyst:
Robo-advisors are online investment platforms that use computer algorithms to manage client portfolios and are thus part of the FinTech universe. With their user-friendly, automated and low-cost services, robo-advisors pose a challenge to traditional financial advisory services and are growing fast. Online client onboarding is the most crucial step in this process, relying on questionnaires to figure out clients' preferences. Following a conservative approach in their asset selection, robo-advisors mainly invest in ETFs. Portfolio allocation is done via mean-variance optimisation and threshold-based rebalancing is utilised to maintain targeted asset weights. Wealthier and more educated clients are joining millennials as robo-advisory clients. Fees are considerably higher in the EU than in the US where robo-advisors’ AuM are much larger. Robo-advisors can contribute to financial inclusion, while their long-term success relies on a high degree of accuracy and suitability for clients. [more]
3
April 25, 2017
Region:
Policymakers, clients and bankers themselves wish to know what constitutes a large bank. What is the right indicator to look at if a supervisor is interested in systemic importance and risks to financial stability? What is the right indicator to look at if a company needs a bank that can provide large-scale financing and take on substantial hedging risks? Various measures are currently in use, each with strengths and shortcomings. Regulators and academics mostly look at total assets, an accounting figure. Others reach conclusions from Tier 1 capital or market cap, two regulation- and market-based indicators. This study discusses these and other measures in detail. It draws quantitative comparisons, including across countries and different financial systems, and proposes one indicator that is best suited to measure bank size. [more]
4
March 23, 2017
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With developments in the UK and the US, populism was a key theme in 2016. But does the perception of 2016 as “the year of the populists” really fit for Europe? A closer look suggests that while populism was an omnipresent theme in public discourse, support for populist parties in polls rather remained stable and elections did not translate into outright populist wins. The rise of populist parties has however been a multi-year trend. Populists can affect national politics in various ways. One possible effect is that forming a government (coalition) often gets more complicated and time-consuming and results in more fragile governments. Another is populists’ potential impact on policy discussions’ style and content. Pursuing policies with long-term benefits but which are often not instantly popular becomes more difficult ‒ both at the national and the European level. [more]
5
February 21, 2017
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Analyst:
Securitisation markets have returned to policymakers’ attention recently, only this time as a hoped-for panacea to anaemic lending in Europe rather than a culprit for the financial crisis. To date, the focus is largely on true-sale securitisation. Yet synthetic securitisation has notable potential as well, especially for SME lending. Synthetic securitisation saw mixed trends in recent years. 1) Complex arbitrage deals have almost disappeared. 2) Balance sheet synthetic deals have surged to an issuance volume of EUR 94 bn in 2016. Transactions have become mostly private, yet are now much less complex and of robust asset quality. A firm inclusion of balance sheet deals in the evolving framework for simple, transparent and standardised (STS) securitisations would be sensible and could well contribute to a recovery in lending in Europe. [more]
6
January 24, 2017
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It is hard to overstate the importance of trade policy for Europe. The EU28 is the largest trading bloc, the top trading partner for about 80 countries worldwide and ranks 1st for in- and outbound investment. The EU’s free trade agreements (FTAs) vary substantially, depending on partners and policy priorities. “New generation trade agreements” go beyond traditional tariff reductions, including issues like services trade, intellectual property or investment. EU agreements to foster trade (and investment), however, have sparked mixed feelings more recently given the backlash against globalisation as well as EU-internal controversies over the power to strike such deals. Yet, the EU’s ability to conclude trade deals is also contingent on political support. Rising scepticism about globalisation means, that (potential) distributional effects of FTAs and their (potential) interaction with national legislation, is going to feature more prominently throughout negotiations and in the public debate. [more]
7
December 6, 2016
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Analyst:
Inequality is dominating the political debate in various countries still characterised by sluggish economic recovery and high unemployment even several years after the financial crisis. In this note we look at trends, drivers and solutions. Four points stand out from the trends. First, global income inequality has increased over the last three decades. Second, the integration of the EM into the global economy has allowed aggregate income levels to converge towards AE levels, lifting millions out of poverty. Third, the AE have been better able to control income inequality via redistribution. Fourth, aggregates can be deceptive. Rising income inequality is associated with globalisation, technological change and migration. At the same time they have had an undeniably positive impact on aggregate income. The policy dilemma is in resolving the tension between the increase in income and its unfair distribution. [more]
8
November 23, 2016
Analyst:
Despite a growing role of electronic payments, demand for cash is on the rise in Europe. Euro cash in circulation has increased to EUR 1.1 trillion, three times as much as in 2003. Cash limits the power of monetary authorities, provides data protection and can therefore act as a guarantor of civil liberties. On the other hand, it is often associated with a stronger shadow economy, even though the shift towards a cashless society seems to trigger higher levels of card fraud. [more]
9
September 30, 2016
Region:
Brexit affects regional policy both in the UK and in the EU27. It has a direct impact via financial adjustments for the individual funds, and indirect effects, possibly influencing the budgetary debates to come and adjusting regional policy priorities. However, the effects are highly contingent on the timing of Brexit and the planning processes and preparations for the new EU budget beyond 2020. The biggest stakes are potential changes to the structural funds which invest all across the EU. Finally, there is the issue of possible future cooperation between the EU27 and the UK after a Brexit. In principle, regional policy programmes already provide for some options here. However, the specific arrangements and conditions are only going to be defined as part of the negotiations to structure the new relationship. [more]
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