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Dec 05, 2018

Opinion: Imagining a trip to the European Capital Markets Forum 2038

Kay Bommer, general manager at German IR association Dirk, looks to IR in another 20 years’ time

After numerous highlights, the 10th European Capital Markets Forum, organized by the Europe Stock Exchange, came to an end yesterday in Frankfurt. The successor organization to the German Stock Exchange was once again able to bring in high-level speakers and thus attract many participants from the capital markets to the European center of finance and banking, much like its national predecessor, the German Equity Forum. 

In line with the general trend, the event again took place using Web 3.0 and social media, which enabled more than 2,000 virtual participants from around the world to join the 500 physically present at the event. One of these guests was star investor Elon Musk, who tuned in from his space office – the Challenge II – for a panel discussion with highly qualified participants on the topic, ‘Investing in galaxy papers: Why not?’ 

The highlight of the three-day event was the keynote speech delivered by China’s President Xi Fan. He arrived directly from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and explained in front of a riveted audience how China and Europe, as the two largest economies in the world, can together achieve the reintegration of the US economy – which fell considerably behind in the wake of the eight-year-long Trump era – into the global fold. 

In his speech, Xi also expressed his admiration for how Europe has recovered from the mega-crash and ensuing distortions in the global equity market in the early 2020s and managed to modernize its still highly fragmented European capital market, developing it into a leading market in global finance. 

In a globally broadcast interview with IR Magazine TV that took place at the forum, Rory John Gates, son of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, pointed out that functioning capital markets are still the basis of progress and prosperity. The successful transformation to the ‘digital economy 6.0’ would simply not have been imaginable without the participation of the NewTechs financed by the capital market. 

The investment community also reacted with joy to the decision made by the English government to follow the examples of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales and apply to rejoin the EU, which is now made up of 32 states. Glenn Goldberg, CEO of the Europe Stock Exchange, pointed out that ‘even though London no longer plays a key role as a financial or technical center, it is still a cultural and historic part of Europe.’ According to research conducted by the Deutsches Aktieninstitut [German Share Institute], over the past 12 months (and for the first time ever), more than 50 percent of Germans over the age of 14 now own equity, either directly or indirectly. By comparison, in 2018 this figure did not exceed 15 percent. 

But equity is truly in, as is also evidenced by the DAX 50 recently breaking the 30,000-point mark. The DAX’s replacement by the European leading index EuroX 100 is, as is widely known, scheduled for January 4, 2039 following lengthy negotiations. 

Last but not least, there was an additional reason to be cheerful: IR Magazine, the world’s leading capital markets magazine, celebrated its 50th anniversary during the forum. Janet Dignan, IR Magazine founder, took the occasion to present an anniversary yearbook with the title More ups than downs: 50 years with our finger on the pulse of the markets. So from me, happy birthday, IR Magazine

This article was published in the winter 2018 issue of IR Magazine – the 30th anniversary issue of IR Magazine