Opportunities and risks, megatrends and economic slowdowns - these topics were discussed along with far-reaching trends in modern financial policy at the two-day Campus For Finance - WHU New Year's Conference at WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management. On January 15 and 16, they were discussed and illustrated from academic and corporate perspectives under the heading "Big banks, low margins: What is the future of banking?". The international financial experts included, for example, Professor Anthony Saunders from the New York University Stern School of Business and Dr. Stephan Leithner, member of the Executive Board of Deutsche Börse AG. He urged the younger generation to speak out like Greta Thunberg at the UN Climate Change Conference and express their outrage towards the current pension system, that will hardly guarantee an adequate life in the future.
There was general agreement in the financial sector that the banking system is undergoing fundamental change. During one of the panel discussions, Christian Hecker of ING Bank encouraged Germans to take a closer look at modern investment models, because unlike in the Anglo-American world, they have a lot of catching up to do. Markus Gunter, CEO of N26 Bank, also took this view. Not only should the hardly profitable investment forms such as insurance and savings accounts be reconsidered, but also access to banks in general. Gunter provoked with the quote "7 out of 10 millennials would rather visit their dentist than their local bank", thus emphasizing the importance of a more service- and customer-oriented mindset. In a technologically transformed industrial landscape, the model of local branches of traditional banks is outdated; online services, promptitude and mobility are the solution.
There was also agreement among the conference participants regarding the role of Fintechs in the future: With their so far low profit shares of 3 to 5 per cent, they do not yet represent a serious threat to traditional banks, but are rather suitable as cooperation partners, who help the established financial service providers to focus on the needs of younger generations. The financial experts rather pointed out that the real danger for the banking sector is approaching through large corporations such as Apple and Google, which are currently introducing their own payment systems and could become competitors in the foreseeable future. Thomas Schnarr from the strategy consultancy Oliver Wyman explained that the motivation of these big players is less to win segments of the financial market for themselves than to expand their customer loyalty and, in the medium term, to sell their own products.
At this year's Campus for Finance - WHU New Year's Conference, it also became clear that bank clients and investors are not only interested in economic, but also increasingly in ecological aspects. This is also changing the investment portfolios of banks. "Green finance" could become the key term for the future.
As every year, the 20th edition of the Campus for Finance – WHU New Year's Conference was accompanied by job fairs, workshops and networking opportunities. At the end, Professor Dr. Markus Rudolf, Dean of WHU, thanked the involved Bachelor students for the successful organisation of the event, although they only had about two months of preparation.
Campus for Finance is a student initiative of WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management and was founded in 1999 in cooperation with the Endowed Chair of Finance. True to the motto "Uniting the World of Finance", Campus for Finance organizes two financial congresses a year, the WHU New Year's Conference and the WHU Private Equity Conference.