Luxembourg’s International Showcases: Highlights from Season 1

Up until Q2 2020, Fintech aficionados were running between international events and complaining about their event fatigue. COVID19 damaged the event industry, forming a networking gap. In a way, COVID19 created a new reality. All physical events, including the events that were not planned at all, are going virtual. 

As luck would have it, going virtual permitted event organizers to diversify their event portfolio and include experts and guests from all around the world. The LHoFT was one of the institutions that turned the crisis into opportunity and presented Fintech fans with a wide range of events. Exactly 40 digital events gathered more than 4000 Fintech enthusiasts and experts globally. As Season 2 continues with a new lineup of exiting events, we’re taking a step back and listed a best of LHoFT’s International Showcases; deep-dives into the Luxembourg ecosystem from Season 1.

(view the full transcript)

International Showcase: The Blockchain Industry in Luxembourg featuring Laurent Marochini, Tom Kettels, Tobias Seidl and Emilie Allaert, explaining why Luxembourg is the go-to Blockchain hub in Europe.

“Luxembourg is quite active in terms of blockchain as well, not only Fintech. The Luxembourg financial regulator was one of the first to issue a statement in 2014. You can do a lot of your business in English, French or German. We also have two crypto exchanges already licensed here in Luxembourg: bitFyler and Bitstamp. There was also a law on blockchain in circulation of tokens as dematerialized securities, which was done as a Valentine’s gift by our Finance Minister last year. And we have a lot of partnerships with key Fintech hubs around the world. You can see on the right that they are quite big names in terms of blockchain here, there are a lot of companies and it’s growing every day. We have here the Fintech ecosystem value chain. We receive support from the public, private incubators, and accelerators. We also have initiatives at the industry level such as ALFI with the digital and blockchain group. We have financing via the public and private sectors so you can find some specific schemes to develop your companies and your projects. So don’t hesitate to have a look or ask for questions. And we are also quite active in R&D.” – Emilie Allaert, LHoFT

“We decided to launch a Fintech in Luxembourg and not in German because of the ease of doing business in Luxembourg, where you can talk directly to the regulator. You don’t have this formalistic processes you go through in other countries like Germany. It’s a little bit more formalistic. There are so many different lobby groups involved, so it’s not so easy to establish your business as it is in Luxembourg. And the other thing I think is the flexible corporate law that Laurent mentioned in the beginning. You can do a lot of stuff which is not possible in other countries.” – Tobias Seidl, Stokr

(view the full transcript)

International Showcase: The Banking Industry in Luxembourg featuring Chris Hollifield, Jean Diederich, Andrey Martovoy and Fred Giuliani, showcasing Luxembourg’s Banking industry.

“While geographically speaking, Luxembourg is very small, in terms of finance, it’s a really major Center. As an international financial center, the financial activities that get transferred through Luxembourg are fairly major. So, the big question is: why? And for me there are two real key reasons. The first one is because Luxembourg is a founding member of the European Union. And so the market of financial services in Luxembourg is not the 600,000 people in Luxembourg, it’s rather the 450 million consumers throughout the rest of the European Union, the 27 member states of the European Union, it’s the 7000 financial institutions across the rest of the European Union, and it’s the 23 million SMEs that exist throughout the rest of the European Union as well. The other main reason why Luxembourg exists as a financial center is stability. Luxembourg is one of the few countries left on the planet that maintains a triple AAA credit rating. Up until the beginning of Covid19, Luxembourg had a debt to GDP ratio around 21%, and now it will only climb marginally as a result of Covid19 measures. But it’s not just about financial stability. It’s also about political and regulatory stability.” – Chris Hollifield, LFF

“We have a lot of companies in the Fundtech, Regtech, Blockchain and Lending sectors, many of whom have moved their headquarters for Europe to Luxembourg… Why are those people coming to Luxembourg? We are a huge financial center. Everything can be done in English. We have a full value chain here for the Fintech industry. We have support from public initiatives such as the LHoFT but also from private initiatives, be it incubators, be it clusters, as we mentioned, ABBL, ALFI, or Digital Luxembourg. On the financing side, we do have a few VCs. But we also have special schemes from the Ministry of Economy that can be helpful. And finally, we have the European Investment Fund based in Luxembourg, and they have a special scheme called the Luxembourg Future Fund which is quite interesting if you’re looking for funding. We have a full value chain here for the Fintech industry. We have support from public initiatives such as the LHoFT but also from private initiatives, be it incubators, be it clusters, as we mentioned, ABBL, ALFI, or Digital Luxembourg. On the financing side, we do have a few VCs. But we also have special schemes from the Ministry of Economy that can be helpful. And finally, we have the European Investment Fund based in Luxembourg, and they have a special scheme called the Luxembourg Future Fund which is quite interesting if you’re looking for funding.” – Alex Panican, LHoFT

(view the full transcript)

International Showcase: The Payments Industry in Luxembourg featuring Chris Hollifield, Thibault De Barsy, Samuele Pinta, Karen O’Sullivan, Natasha Deloge,  focusing on the Payment Industry in Luxembourg

“One of the big trends at the moment is something that we refer to at Luxembourg for Finance as ‘Amazonisation’. Generally speaking, we think about this in two ways, particularly in the payment sector. Firstly, the development of financial services platforms, primarily digital, which provides a greater range of choices and gradual efficiency to end clients. Secondly, which is particularly important in a payment sense, is the more traditional association that you might come away with the wider Amazonisation form, which is the development of e-commerce. Increasingly, since the beginning of this millennium, we’ve seen huge growth in Payment Services alongside the development of e-commerce. Luxembourg has always been at the center of that development in Europe. PayPal, for instance, obtained its banking license in Luxembourg in 2007. ” – Chris Hollified, LFF

(view the full transcript)

International Showcase: The Asset Management Industry in Luxembourg featuring Robert Jarvis, Francois Drazdik and Nicolas Gérard, highlighting Luxembourg’s strengths in asset management

“We have around 4.7 trillion euros of assets under management in Luxembourg investment vehicles. And these investments are collected by many people in the world, who give their money to another manager who invests it in the long term. Luxembourg collects this money and distributes this money in over 70 different countries. So that is what Luxembourg has become. Much like you would buy a German car for its reliability, you buy Luxembourg investment products as well regulated, and trusted. It makes sense for an asset manager to set up a vehicle in one location and capture investments from all over the world and then to invest into projects, thereby again, helping the real economy. There are around 500 asset managers in Luxembourg, and we’re the global leader in cross border investment funds so that for Fintechs means clients: Asset Management clients, banking clients, insurance clients, lots of international business. The fund industry needs a lot of banking as well, and we have around 130 banks in Luxembourg.” – Robert Jarvis, adviser at Luxembourg For Finance

“80% of the top 30 asset managers use Luxembourg investment funds as a primary European platform for distribution, including big names like Alliance BlackRock, HSBC, Nomura, IMG, Schroders, UBS, and so on. They all have their Funds in Luxembourg. And they all of course administrate and handle the custody here in Luxembourg. Of course, those funds are not exclusively distributed to the 550 or 600,000 inhabitants in Luxembourg. But these funds are widely cross-border distributed.” – François Drazdik, ALFI

(view the full transcript)

International Showcase: Innovation in the Insurance sector in Luxembourg featuring Marc Hengen, Marc Hotton, Olivier Debeugny and Alex Panican, discussing the innovation aspect of Luxembourg’s insurance industry

” If we take a closer look at our 41 billion turnover, only 7% of this global turnover is collected from a local population. This means that 93% of this turnover is made with a population that does not live in Luxembourg. This shows, without the slightest doubt, the very international characteristic of the Luxembourg insurance market. If we take the life insurance sector in more detail, and which has been operating for a longer time in Luxembourg, we see that the first market, with more than 38% market share, is France, the second market is Italian market with 25% market share, then the German and Belgian market follow in third and fourth place. I would also like to point out that in 2019 the UK still represented 4% of the market share but that this will no longer be possible because the UK are no longer part of the European market. The diversity of these markets is one of the reasons why the Luxembourg market is solid and is growing year after year.” – Marc Hengen, Managing Director, Chairman of the Management Committee of the ACA

“Choosing your innovation model is really important. You have to be inspired by what others put in place but not copy. It is necessary to put in the tailor-made. The innovation we choose must correspond to the expectations and objectives of the company. I am going to focus on 3 elements: positioning; corporate culture and open innovation. (1) Positioning: innovation needs support otherwise it won’t work. (2) Corporate culture: innovation must be an integral part of the corporate culture. (3) Open Innovation: this is very important for us and it would be illusory, and especially counterproductive, to believe that we can innovate on our own. To innovate well, we have to innovate together. This is why we have chosen a collaborative model.” – Marc Hotton, Innovation Coordinator of the Foyer Group

Stay ahead of the curve by joining the LHoFT crew for these three upcoming digital events under our “Global Leaders Series”, bringing the biggest names in Fintech to your home. Register now while spaces are available! 

by S. Elif Kocaoglu Ulbrich



The LHoFT Foundation

The LHoFT Foundation is a not-for-profit initiative supported by the public & private sector to drive innovation for, and digitialisation of Luxembourg’s financial services industry. The LHoFT is the national platform and central hub for Fintech, working to connect the domestic and international community to solve challenges and address opportunities that will ensure the Financial Industry’s continued competitiveness.

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