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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.

9 Documents
June 4, 2019
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1
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a significant step forward in the digitalisation and transformation of modern businesses. Investors are lining up to be part of the imminent change. AI attracted USD 24 bn in investments globally in 2018, a twelvefold increase since 2013. Within Europe, Germany, France and the UK are the frontrunners in experimentation and in the implementation of AI. Similar to earlier examples of information technology (IT) implementation in financial services, AI promises great efficiency gains and potential revenue increases and its potential contribution to bank profitability should not be underestimated. [more]
July 2, 2018
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2
The UK’s exit from the EU will have significant repercussions for the financial industry, notably investment banking. London as the primary European hub is likely to lose its full access to the single market. Currently, financial services exports play a major role for Britain and almost half of them go to the EU. Without the surplus it generates from providing investment banking services to EU customers, Britain’s current account deficit would be 40% higher. Following Brexit and the likely loss of the single European passport, non-EU banks will have to set up or build-out subsidiaries in the EU-27 with own capital, liquidity, corporate governance and fully-fledged operations. This could lead to an additional EUR 35-45 bn of capital being ‘ring-fenced’. This represents a further leg of banking balkanisation with trapped capital, liquidity and resources – profitability will be under pressure and not all EU business models will be viable. [more]
January 23, 2018
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3
Economic policy uncertainty in Europe has risen to extraordinarily high levels. This stands in stark contrast to conventional measures of financial market uncertainty which are at historical lows. Uncertainty surrounding economic policies has negative spillover effects to the rest of the economy. It tends to be transmitted to capital markets and to result in higher financing costs for companies. Significant cross-country transmission of economic policy uncertainty is observable within the EU, with the UK being a net exporter. In addition, banks could turn out to be a central channel through which economic policy uncertainty is transmitted to the real economy, via subdued lending to non-financial corporations, in particular to SMEs. [more]
August 10, 2017
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4
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]
February 21, 2017
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5
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]
September 29, 2016
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6
Ensuring sufficient funding for European start-ups forms an integral part of the emerging European Capital Markets Union (CMU). Cost-efficient solutions are necessary to reverse the 40% decline in small IPOs in recent years. To strengthen bank lending to start-ups, reviving the securitisation market and potentially establishing an SME-covered bond market is crucial. Venture capital investments are also subdued – most recently, they were only one tenth of the level in the US. To increase them, institutional investors should be granted more flexibility in their portfolio allocations. Finally, the EU hosts more than 500 crowd funding platforms. A common legal and regulatory approach could stir consolidation and thereby reduce search costs for investors and borrowers alike. [more]
November 2, 2015
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7
The creation of a European Capital Markets Union (CMU) aims to establishing a single market for capital to complement bank financing. In this paper, we make a quantitative assessment of the European stock, bond and securitisation markets to look at the CMU’s potential. Our results reveal that liquidity and IPO trends in European stock markets are similar to those in the US. However, market integration has slowed down in recent years, which the CMU could counter by harmonising company, securities and insolvency laws. European corporate bond markets have become a notable alternative to bank lending but their investor base remains restricted, which the CMU should address. The securitisation market in Europe has performed well throughout the crises and its revival is a sine qua non for lending to regain traction, especially to SMEs. The CMU should thus target a less punitive regulatory treatment for this market segment. [more]
October 14, 2014
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8
SMEs’ access to finance remains a pressing problem in many parts of the euro area as SMEs largely rely on bank loans for funding. Our findings show that it is mainly the banks’ own refinancing costs in capital markets and their risk perceptions regarding SMEs which give rise to constraints. Of the steps taken to spur bank lending, the ECB’s LTROs seem to have had limited success. Securitisation of SME loans on the other hand has the potential to bridge the gap between SMEs’ funding needs and the availability of bank loans. Public-sector and market-based initiatives to improve SME financing are of great importance as well: for the former, private-sector involvement is crucial; as for the latter, overall success has been mixed so far. [more]
January 31, 2013
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9
High investor demand is fuelling corporate bond issuance in the EU. Deleveraging in some countries and the fact that some banks are paying roughly the same or even higher rates for their refinancing than their customers no doubt has pushed corporate debt markets. But the main driver for the high issuance volumes seems to be investors’ search for yield in a low interest rate environment. As sovereign bonds are offering historically low yields, corporate bonds have turned into a significant investment alternative in the present market conditions. However, in an era of Knightian uncertainty and high liquidity, strong growth in corporate bond market calls for attention to potential overheating. [more]
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