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Round Table in Düsseldorf with Burkhard Balz

Burkhard Balz, Executive Board member of Bundesbank: “Big Techs—game changers for the financial industry and payment transactions?”

zeb continued its zeb Financial Market Roundtable series with another roundtable event at the Industrie Club Düsseldorf. At these events, renowned representatives from politics and financial institutions discuss the latest fiscal issues with a small, selected group of participants. Burkhard Balz, new to the Executive Board of Deutsche Bundesbank since April 2018 and before that, member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs for ten years, underlined the importance of taking the increasing influence of Big Techs seriously during his speech in front of the banks’ board members.

Concerning customer centricity, data expertise and alternative payment systems, big technological companies and platforms, such as Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook from the USA, but also Alibaba and Tencent from China, were highly innovative. Due to expansionism, there was the risk that customers would only depend on and act within protected ecosystems. “It is of paramount importance and highly urgent to find a European answer to these challenges,” added Balz. In the medium term, a European alternative would also be highly important from a strategic perspective. “We shouldn’t have to face the situation where European consumers could only choose between payment services of American or Chinese Big Techs”, said Balz. European banks should cooperate with the aim of establishing a European brand in payment transactions. A common brand would have enough reach to permanently play a role side by side with global players around the world.