Five Years of the LHoFT: A Night to Remember
With 300 guests in tow, we celebrated a momentous occasion – 5 years since the inception of the LHoFT. For those that don’t know, the LHoFT was created in 2017 to federate and foster innovation within Luxembourg’s financial services community to ensure future competitiveness, a theme discussed throughout the evening.
Presenter, Moderator, Science Author and Singer, Lisa Burke who moderated the event may have said it best, “[we are here] to celebrate the 5 year anniversary of the LHoFT itself. The community is being built on and from a network of visionaries hoping to change the future of financial technology in Luxembourg, for Luxembourg and beyond.”
And some of these visionaries Lisa mentions were our speakers including Luxembourg’s Minister of Finance, H.E. Yuriko Backes; Deputy CEO of Luxembourg for Finance, Philipp von Restorff; our very own CEO, Nasir Zubairi; Luc Falempin, Founder and CEO of Tokeny; Jonathan Prince, Co-founder of Finologee and Nadia Manzari, Partner at Schiltz and Schiltz.
The classic expression of ‘there is no “i” in team’ really holds true here. The LHoFT has been successful because of collaboration between people and institutions pursuing a common vision. H.E. Yuirko Backes says that “common vision [is] to make the Luxembourg financial center innovative, greener and future proof” and we wholeheartedly agree.
In order to secure this ideal future, we need to have a tool to address the circumstances, some of which can be very unpredictable. And that tool, for all the speakers, is the LHoFT.
The Minister of Finance, H.E. Yuriko Backes shared 5 themes (circumstances) and how the LHoFT can act as a catalyst for change. They were as follows:
- Lack of Talent: Whether it is to attract, retain or develop talent, this is a fundamental piece to grow any sector. H.E. Yuriko Backes mentioned “the government has adapted a talent strategy, so that is a step in the right direction and the LHoFT is already playing an important role thanks to its education efforts, cooperation with universities and dedicated recruiting tools and initiatives.” Finding and keeping the right talent is always difficult, but we’re moving in a positive direction.
- Lack of Diversity: As we mentioned in our Gender Inclusion series, only 20% of executive roles in financial enterprises were held by women in 2020 and the number is even lower in tech. Needless to say, we need to do more to empower women and the LHoFT is spearheading this through the Gender Inclusion program. LHoFT CEO, Nasir Zubairi adds that “we have delivered over 200 webinars with 300 speakers and 11,500 attendees from all over the world.” Continuing initiatives through education to overcome barriers and the fear of change in traditional finance is a key priority.
- Transition to Green FinTech & Sustainable Finance: It’s a no-brainer to move towards climate neutrality, ESGs and access to sustainability data. The LHoFT will play a role in conducting research and building a strategy for ESGs going forward along with programming. Nasir shared that “the LHoFT has delivered its catapult: the Inclusion Africa program for the past 5 years which has made a positive impact in financial inclusion.”
- Creating Conducive Regulatory Framework: The Minister of Finance said she wants to improve the legislative framework around Blockchain and DLT to “hopefully give our financial center and FinTech firms a head start.” The LHoFT will be able to then create more opportunities for these FinTech firms benefiting from the improved legislation.
- Need for more Mutualisation: Two of Luxembourg’s key pieces of infrastructure – both the Luxembourg Stock Exchange and Clearstream were founded as joint ventures between banks and “they have become integral to the competitiveness of our financial center” said H.E. Yuriko Backes. And there is still a lot of potential to further develop through R&D Grants, University projects and the LHoFT which can act as a catalyst to help drive these mutualisation initiatives forward. Nasir noted that these mutualisation efforts have an “aim of developing areas of competitive advantage while helping overcome key challenges for the financial institutions.” We’re excited to see what’s next.
Nasir thanked “our community of Fintech innovators and warriors for their passion and engagement” which re-affirms the power of community. The best case scenarios for these aforementioned themes will only come to fruition through the collaborative efforts of a strong community. Philipp Von Restorff, Deputy CEO, Luxembourg for Finance mentioned the ongoing cooperation between Luxembourg for Finance and LHoFT. There is actually so much ongoing cooperation that he asked the whole Luxembourg for Finance team “what adjectives or nouns pop into your head when thinking about the LHoFT” and they said the following:
“Agility, versatility, networkers, onboard successfully Fintechs, cool, enthusiasts, getting things done, making things easier, facilitators, joyful, dynamic, international and parties!” And on a personal note he added humility.
We’re grateful for the kind words spoken at this event and would like to leave you with a final thought from our CEO, Nasir Zubairi who said “Luxembourg is a special place where everyone can make a difference.” We are a community and value collaboration to drive innovation and change. We encourage you to get in touch if you have ideas or want to collaborate.
As a final note, for those not in attendance we want to say thank you for your contributions to the LHoFT, we have immense gratitude and respect for the incredible impact you’ve helped us make in Luxembourg and beyond. Here’s to another 5 years of building together.